Ilhan Omar’s Daughter Arrested During University Protest

 April 20, 2024

Isra Hirsi, the daughter of U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, found herself in cuffs during a contentious demonstration at Columbia University.

During an anti-Israel protest at Columbia University, Isra Hirsi was arrested on charges of trespassing and released after several hours.

Fox News reported that the protests, referred to as the "Gaza Solidarity Encampment," were initiated by activists on campus and consisted of demands such as the divestment from companies involved in what protesters describe as genocide and more transparency in the university’s investments. The events attracted considerable attention, leading to over 100 individuals receiving summonses from the New York Police Department for trespassing.

Isra Hirsi and others present continued their demonstration into Thursday, voicing strong criticisms against Israeli policies and leaders, notably against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not long after, Hirsi faced arrest amidst the intensifying protest.

Representative Ilhan Omar's Previous Engagement with Columbia

Representative Ilhan Omar had recently participated in a congressional hearing where she questioned Columbia University's administration regarding their stance on anti-Israel activism on campus. This inquiry came close on the heels of her daughter's arrest, sparking discussions about possible connections between the two events.

An unexpected twist in the protest was the deployment of a non-toxic spray among participants. Initially mistaken for an assault, it was later clarified as a harmless flatulence spray, reducing concerns about violence during the demonstration.

Representative Jamaal Bowman commented on the situation, tying it to broader issues of campus expression and justice. He suggested that institutions avoid engaging in political reprisals, especially after Representative Omar's recent inquiry into Columbia's practices.

Impact and Statements from Involved Parties

Isra Hirsi, articulating her motives and the group's determination, stressed the importance of their protest’s aims. She highlighted the encampment’s commitment to persist until the institution realized substantive changes:

Those of us in Gaza Solidarity Encampment will not be intimidated. We will stand resolute until our demands are met. Our demands include divestment from companies complicit in genocide, transparency of Columbia’s investments, and FULL amnesty for all students facing repression.

Columbia University has yet to respond to the demands laid out by the protestors, and the NYPD has provided no further comments on the arrests made during the demonstration.

This incident reflects ongoing tensions surrounding university policies on investment and campus activism, spotlighting the complex interplay between educational institutions and broader social and political issues.


The protests, arrests, and the inflammatory context of Representative Omar's recent engagement with Columbia University pinpoints a moment of high controversy and dialogue within the academic community and beyond.

Looking ahead, this event's implications may prompt significant discussions about academic freedom, protest rights, and universities' overarching involvement in political and social ethics.

As the situation unfolds, all eyes will remain on Columbia University for its next steps and on how it handles the intersection of student activism with administrative policies.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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