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Ilhan Omar reported D.C. cabbie over racist tirade, but not to the police

Omar said what happened to her was "over-reported" because of her profile, but that it happens to women and Muslims every day in America.
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Minnesota politician Ilhan Omar said she has filed complaints about a Washington, D.C. cab driver who subjected her to sexist and racist abuse, but didn't report him to the police.

Omar, who next month will become the first Somali-American woman to take elected office in the U.S., says she was called "filthy" and "ISIS" by the driver earlier this month, who also threatened to remove her hijab.

Her recounting of the incident made national and international news, such has been her profile since her historic election victory in Minnesota House District 60B last month.

She said she filed a complaint about the driver, who was himself an African immigrant, with the city's Department for For-Hire Vehicles and the Human Rights Commission in D.C.

She didn't contact the police, however, because: "I believe criminalizing hate is not a solution and will only strengthen individual malice."

"Bigotry is a product of ignorance; by educating people, we will move toward respect and understanding," she added, in a statement on her website Monday.

Omar said what happened to her was "over-reported" because of her sudden appearance in the spotlight, but says "women and Muslims share these experiences every day."

"It is essential we recognize, what happened to me is not an isolated incident nor is it an extreme example of such encounters," she said, adding: "As a society, it is easy to condemn small acts of hate, but we have trouble accepting that discrimination is thriving and a regular part of the American experience."

She wants what happened to her to "spur conversation into action" so that incidents of such prejudice are phased out of American life.

"Unity makes us strong, divided we will never succeed. I pray for my aggressor and the systems that incite such ideology; I pray for all our humanity. I hope this message reaches my cab driver, that he recognizes I am not his enemy."

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