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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

An Iranian Journalist Criticized Soleimani... and Omar Took Issue With It

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist, author and host on Voice of America's Persian service said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has been an active participant in a campaign to smear her. She said Omar has spread false information about her because of an opinion piece she wrote in the Washington Post criticizing Qasem Soleimani, the general of the Qud's Force that was killed in a U.S. airstrike. 


In her piece, Alinejad tells Americans not to believe the Iranian-fueled propaganda surrounding Soleimani's death, especially about the number of so-called "supporters" who came out to mourn Soleimani's death. According to the Iranian journalist, back in November thousands of Iranians took to the streets and "had harsh words for Soleimani and his foreign adventures, chanting against Iran’s involvement in Syria and its support of Hezbollah."

"But what to make of the crowds of flag-waving mourners streaming across TV screens? Without doubt, Soleimani had support among hard-liners and regime loyalists. The regime is not taking any chances, though. In the city of Ahvaz, where large numbers of people turned out to mourn Soleimani, the government has forced students and officials to attend," she wrote. "It provided free transport and ordered shops to shut down. According to videos sent to me by people inside the country, the authorities are making little kids write essays praising the fallen commander. First-graders who didn’t know how to write were encouraged to cry for Soleimani."

Because of her anti-Islamic Regime sentiment, Alinejad believes that is why Omar is suddenly speaking out against her. 


"I strongly believe that because of my article in the Washington Post, I criticized Soleimani and I’ve said that many Iranians do not see him as a hero," Alinejad told Fox News' Martha McCallum on Friday. "They see him as a warmonger, as a war criminal. And that is why I got a lot of attacks by these Islamist lobbyists and she actually shared one of these defamatory articles against me.”

The Iranian journalist recounted numerous instances where she reached out to Omar in search of support. Each time the Minnesota Congresswoman was silent. 

“One time, six women got arrested just because of protesting compulsory hijab. Another time, 29 women in Iran got arrested in one day just because of protesting compulsory hijab and I asked Ilhan Omar to join us and show solidarity. She was silent,” Alinejad explained. “And another time when my brother was taken hostage by the Revolutionary Guard, I reach out to her. Silence again. My mother was interrogated for three hours just because of my activities. Again, she was silent. 1,500 people got killed, she was silent. Right now, 176 people got killed in a suspicious situation in Iran in Ukrainian airplane. She’s silent!”

MacCallum asked Alinejad if she believes Omar is siding with the regime and against the wants and desires of the Iranian people.


“What I want to say is this: She broke her silence when I criticized the Islamic Republic because I am the same person. I criticized President Trump in Washington Post about travel bans, separated me from my son in the U.K. I haven’t seen my son for two years. When I criticized President Trump, why didn't she attack me?" Alinejad asked. "When I criticized President Trump when he said that he's going to bomb cultural sites, nobody attacked me but as soon I criticized the criminals of the Islamic Republic and I called them warmongers and call them terrorists, I called them religious dictatorship, then the Islamic lobbyists here they attack us.”

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