A Muslim refugee woman is running to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Congress — but this one is a Republican.

Dalia al-Aqidi announced Thursday that she will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar for her seat in Congress.

Ms. Al-Aqidi, whose family fled Iraq when Saddam Hussein was dictator and she was in her 20s, said the Somali-born congresswoman was spreading hatred and division, hurting Muslims and not representing the Minneapolis-area district.

“She’s spreading hatred, and she is spreading racism throughout not only her district, not only her state, but throughout the whole country, and this is very important,” she told The New York Post after announcing her run.

“She’s hurting the moderate Muslims; Muslims like myself. She doesn’t represent me as a Muslim,” she also said.

She had a prominent career as a political reporter, first for Voice of America and then a U.S. politics correspondent for Middle Eastern TV networks and in her native Iraq.

Ms. al-Aqidi moved to the district just last year, but told the Post she had “done my homework” and talked to local residents who think Ms. Omar’s high, and contentious, public profile is neglecting the district’s needs on such issues as gang violence and homelessness.

“On Thanksgiving, I helped feed more than 250 homeless people in Minneapolis, which she doesn’t remember. She doesn’t even talk about homeless situation in Minneapolis, which is extremely cold and there are not enough places of shelters for them to sleep in. It’s a very, very important problem in Minneapolis, and it’s getting very cold,” she said.

Ms. Al-Aqidi joins a crowded Republican-primary with six hopefuls in the heavily Democratic 5th Congressional District, which gave Ms. Omar 78% of the vote in 2018 despite the race being her first for federal office after just one term in the state legislature.

“If anyone thinks I’m just running to be in Congress, I would have chosen one of smallest districts in Virginia,” Ms. Al-Aqidi said, “But I chose a battle because I believe in what I’m doing, because I believe in the Constitution and I’m defending the Constitution against people who are working against this country.”

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