Request to Open Investigation into Violent Threats against Rep. Ilhan Omar

View PDF of letter here.

January 7, 2022

The Honorable Christopher Wray
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20535

Dear Director Wray,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 230 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we write to urge you to immediately open an inquiry into the threats of violence targeting Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. It is imperative that the Federal Bureau of Investigation take make clear that such threats of violence are unacceptable and will be met with swift and serious action.

In late November, it was reported that Congresswoman Lauren Boebert had accused Rep. Omar of being a terrorist, as well as a member of a so-called “Jihad Squad.”[1] This anti-Muslim bigotry fanned the flames of hate and appear to have motivated threats of violence targeting Rep. Omar.[2] The threat to a Muslim member of Congress who is also a woman of color constitutes racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism[3] and must not go unaddressed.

According to data released by the FBI, 2020 had the highest number of reported hate crimes in 20 years.[4] We believe the threat targeting Rep. Omar is aligned with what you have identified correctly as one of the top threats to our national security, namely, domestic violent extremism.[5]

We believe opening an inquiry into the threats of violence targeting Rep. Omar will not only help ensure the safety of a member of Congress, but also send a strong message to the American Muslim community that this any threat of violence, especially those motivated by bias, will not be tolerated in a nation striving to live up to its greatest ideals. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jesselyn McCurdy, Executive Vice President for Government Relations at The Leadership Conference, at [email protected].


Wade Henderson
Interim President and CEO

Jesselyn McCurdy
Executive Vice President for Government Relations


[1] Kaczynski, Andrew. “Another video shows Lauren Boebert suggesting Ilhan Omar was terrorist.” CNN. Nov. 30, 2021.

[2] Quinn, Allison. “Ilhan Omar Shares Chilling Death Threat Voicemail She Says She Got After Boebert’s Attack.” The Daily Beast. Dec. 1, 2021.

[3] The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) define racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism as encompassing “the potentially unlawful use or threat of force or violence in furtherance of ideological agendas derived from bias, often related to race or ethnicity, held by the actor against others or a given population group.” “Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Data on Domestic Terrorism.” FBI and DHS. May 2021. As the threat received by Rep. Omar included invectives regarding her race and religion, it is clear it falls within the above definition.

[4] Sganga, Nicole. “2020 saw highest number of reported hate crimes in two decades, updated FBI data shows.” CBS News. Oct. 25, 2021.

[5] Bump, Philip. “FBI Director Wray reconfirms the threat posed by racist extremists.” Washington Post. March 2, 2021. See also Sullivan, Eileen, and Benner, Katie. “Top law enforcement officials say the biggest domestic terror threat comes from white supremacists.” The New York Times. June 15, 2021.; “Homeland Threat Assessment October 2020.” Department of Homeland Security. Oct. 2020.; Donaghue, Erin. “Racially-motivated violent extremists elevated to ‘national threat priority,’ FBI director says.” CBS News. Feb. 5, 2020. The FBI defines a ‘domestic violent extremist’ as “an individual based and operating primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States who seeks to further their ideological goals wholly or in part through unlawful acts of force or violence.” “Domestic Terrorism: Definitions, Terminology, and Methodology.” FBI. 2020.