Fact Check

Did Omar Offer Condolences to Loved Ones of 'Austere Scholar' al-Baghdadi?

A routine review of content labeled satire.

Published Oct. 30, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22:  U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) arrives to a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees October 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, is testifying to house committees in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump relating to the US-Ukraine relationship. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
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U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar offered her condolences to the friends and family of deceased Islamic State leader and "austere scholar" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

On Oct. 28, 2019, the website Genesiustime published an article positing that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, had offered her condolences to the friends and family of Islamic State leader and "austere scholar" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the terrorist leader died during a U.S. military raid:

Omar offers condolences to friends and family of ‘austere scholar’ al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of the world’s most austere religious movement, was killed during a daring nighttime raid by U.S. Special Operations soldiers in northwestern Syria.

US Rep. Ilhan Omar released a statement offering her condolences to the friends and family of the deceased religious leader.

“It is with a heavy heart that I offer my thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of such a remarkable man—the austere religious scholar, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” Omar said. “I probably would’ve married him if we were more closely related.”

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

We strive to provide the most up-to-date, accurate fake news on the Internet. Our team of journalists, hacks, and starving writers only want one thing: to make you laugh and/or cry.

This fictional article's inclusion of the phrase "austere scholar" is referencing an errant obituary headline that briefly appeared on WashingtonPost.com after al-Baghdadi's death. Omar was likely chosen as the target of this piece of satire because she is a Muslim. Omar, however, did not praise al-Baghdadi or offer condolences to his family.

Here's what the Minnesota lawmaker actually said after al-Baghdadi's death:

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

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Genesiustimes.com.   "Omar Offers Condolences to Friends and Family of ‘Austere Scholar’ al-Baghdadi."     28 October 2019.