MAN WHO THREATENED ILHAN OMAR HAS BEEN SENTENCED
By Awa Gueye
March 11, 2020
Trigger warning: xenophobia & hate speech.
Although a constant target for xenophobic ignorance, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has continued to stand tall and practice compassion. Her position as the first Muslim woman elected to Congress has highlighted much of America’s not so subtle and devastatingly unacceptable biases.
In 2019, 56 year-old Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., from Addison, NY, called Omar’s office and threatened to “put a bullet” in her. He began the call by asking a member of Omar’s staff, “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood?” And continued by questioning why they work for Omar before calling her a terrorist. His exact threat reads, “Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull. Back in the day, our forefathers would have put a bullet in her [expletive].” Disgusting.
According to the US Attorney’s office in the Western District of New York, Carlineo was officially sentenced this past Friday for threatening to assault and murder a US official, as well as for illegal possession of firearms. Adding to his judgement, Carlineo had already served a sentence for a 1998 felony conviction and was already legally prohibited from possessing weapons. In an at-home interview with the F.B.I. he pleaded guilty.
Omar’s response was kindness. In a letter she penned to the judge in Carlineo’s case, she asked them to rethink his sentence and provide some leniency in his case. In her letter she poses the question, “Who are we as a nation if we respond to threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves?” She goes on to explain that the answer to hate is compassion, not more hate: “Punishing the defendant with a lengthy prison sentence or a burdensome financial fine would not rehabilitate him. It would not repair the harm he has caused. It would only increase his anger and resentment.” Omar encouraged the system to address the root of these issues, instead of reacting once hate has been long formed in people.
Omar’s efforts to reduce his sentencing and her ask of the judge to not give him a large financial burden may have worked. Carlieno was officially sentenced to only a year and a day in prison.