Feeding Our Future: the Ilhan Omar/Safari Restaurant connections

There have been 49 people (and counting) charged in the Feeding Our Future fraud. Of those, twelve were associated with Safari Restaurant of Minneapolis, including all three co-owners.

Combing through the considerable detail included in the Safari indictment, it’s worth revisiting the relationship between the Fifth District Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) and the establishment located just off of Lake Street.

In early May 2020, Omar posted a video promoting the free-food distribution effort at Safari to a Facebook page. In the video, she speaks in Somali and the restaurant’s facade and logos can be seen throughout.

Here is a screenshot from the video,

The caption above for the video has been translated from the original Somali.

As the first search warrant in the case documents (p. 18), by July 2020, Safari was claiming to feed 5,000 children per day out of the restaurant, seven days a week. By March 2021, they had upped the claim to 6,000 per day (p. 23). As the indictment documents (p. 11, paragraph 35),

In all, the defendants claim to have served more than 3.9 million meals to children at the Safari Restaurant site between April 2020 and November 2021.

That time period would have covered the date of the above video. Apparently, Rep. Omar visited the restaurant during a lull. In total, the FBI claims that Safari Restaurant took in more than $16 million from the free-food programs (para. 37).

The video above is relevant to a long-forgotten controversy first noted by David Steinberg, where Omar tried to hijack credit for an authentic food charity campaign going on in the community. Steinberg tweeted about it on May 8, 2020, four days after she posted the Facebook video.

Steinberg captured this tempest in a teacup in an article for The Blaze back in May 2020. What’s interesting in hindsight is the centrality of Safari Restaurant to the story.

In March 2021, the restaurant played host for a political rally to support Safari and Feeding Our Future in their battles against the state Department of Education. A video of the event, taken by Xogmaal Media, is no longer available. Xogmaal’s owner is now defendant No. 49 in the case.

We have previously documented the long-standing relationship between Omar, her political campaign, and the Safari Restaurant. That relationship includes accepting campaign donations from the restaurant’s owners.

Since that piece was posted in February, Omar narrowly won a primary election for her seat, prevailing by fewer than 2,500 votes over her Democratic opponent in August.

Last week, we documented the relationship between Omar and Feeding Our Future defendant No. 27, Guhaad Hashi Said.