The Atlantic

Young Activists Are Done With Loyalty Tests. Donald Trump Is Not.

Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is part of a new generation that rejects demands for performances of patriotism, including those related to 9/11.
Source: Andrew Harnik / AP

Updated at 1:01 p.m. ET on April 16, 2019.

President Donald Trump has brought the 9/11 loyalty test back to the center of American politics. Late last week, the president tweeted—and pinned—a short clip of Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota speaking at an event, where she described the September 11 attacks as “some people did something.” The speech was spliced with footage of the Twin Towers being destroyed. Trump’s message was clear: Omar did not live up to the standard that has been consistently imposed on American Muslims for the past 18 years—to condemn 9/11 vigorously in exactly the right language at all times.

Omar, however, is part of a new generation of Muslims who refuse to be defined by 9/11. In her speech, she hit back at the idea

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