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Trump's attacks on Omar revive his familiar refrain against Muslims

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Washington: US President Donald Trump has often seen the political benefits of stigmatising Muslims.

During the 2016 campaign, he would not rule out creating a registry of Muslims in the United States. He claimed to have seen "thousands" of Muslims cheering on rooftops in New Jersey after September11, a statement that was widely debunked. And after the deadly attacks in Paris and California, Trump called for a moratorium on Muslims travelling to the United States.

"I think Islam hates us," Trump told Anderson Cooper, the CNN host.

Ilhan Omar, centre, smiles as she stands between fellow Democrats Sheila Jackson Lee, left, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, outside the Capitol.Credit:AP

Now, with 19 months until the 2020 election, Trump is seeking to rally his base by sounding that theme again. And this time, he has a specific target: Democrat Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

In Omar, a Somali refugee whose family received asylum in the United States when she was a teenager, Trump has found a perfect foil: a progressive Democrat whose embrace of the boycott-Israel movement and attacks on supporters of the Jewish state have made her a divisive figure within her own party.

As the first woman to wear a hijab on the House floor — she pushed for a rules change to allow it — she is also a powerful, and visible, symbol for Muslims and refugees.

Trump made a sarcastic reference to Representative Ilhan Omar during a speech in Las Vegas, a day after prosecutors said a New York man was arrested for threatening to murder the freshman Minnesota Democrat.Credit:Bloomberg

Trump and his team are trying to make Omar, who is relatively unknown in national politics, a household name, to be seen as the most prominent voice of the Democratic Party, regardless of her actual position. In February, the President pounced........

© Brisbane Times