“Assassinate Ilhan Omar.”
Those are the words scrawled in large black letters that appeared in a photo posted to Instagram. The person who posted it, United States Navy veteran Brian Raines, said he found the call to have the Minnesota congresswoman killed in the men’s room of a Holiday gas station in Rogers, Minnesota.
“When I asked the manager about it, he said he saw it this morning,” the caption reads. Raines asked the manager why the graffiti hadn’t been covered yet. The manager “didn’t seem to care” and said it was “because the painter hadn’t been out,” before shaking his head and walking away.
The graffiti got a lot more attention after Omar herself posted it on Twitter.
It’s “no wonder” the threatening screed appeared, Omar tweeted. One of the many reasons she's been making headlines is because she's the first Somali-American, Muslim woman in Congress.
Omar pointed to an incident in the West Virginia statehouse that occurred that same day. The state’s Republican Party put up a picture in the statehouse as part of “WV GOP Day,” a supposed Republican takeover of the rotunda. The picture showed the flaming ruin of the Twin Towers, along with a picture of Omar.
“’NEVER FORGET - YOU SAID…” the caption, in all-caps reads. “I [Omar] AM THE PROOF – YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN.”
The resulting brawl over the photo ended in arguments, one staff member getting injured, and the official resignation of the West Virginia House’s sergeant at arms, Anne Lieberman, who had allegedly been overheard saying “all Muslims are terrorists.” She denied having said anything like that.
Omar tweeted that it was obvious why an anonymous tagger demanded she be killed. “Look no further” than displays like the one at West Virginia’s Capitol “likening” her to a terrorist.
“…And no one is condemning them!” she tweeted.
That remains to be seen, but the tweet did draw a lot of attention to the graffiti incident. On Saturday, MPR reported, the FBI’s Minneapolis division announced that the bureau was looking into the matter with the help of other agencies. FBI spokesperson Kevin Smith told MPR that neither Holiday nor local law enforcement had contacted him about the threat.
The graffiti itself is now covered up with “a smear of white paint and some black duct tape,” MPR reports.