Muslim members of Congress condemned Rep Lauren Boebert after she made Islamophobic remarks that surfaced last week, calling on congressional Republicans to hold her accountable.
Reps Andre Carson of Indiana, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan were joined by Rep Jamaal Bowman of New York, who is not Muslim, to condemn the Colorado Republican after she called Ms Omar part of “the jihad squad”.
Ms Omar also played the audio of a death threat she received shortly thereafter, calling her a “sand n***** b****” and a “f***ing traitor.”
“Condemning this should not be a partisan issue,” Ms Omar, who wears a hijab and was one of the first Muslim members of Congress, said. “This is about our basic humanity. and fundamental rights of religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution.”
She also criticised Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia for saying she and Ms Tlaib should retake their oath of office on a Christian Bible.
“That says a lot about somebody who says she believes in the Constitution, because she obviously hasn’t read it,” she said.
Ms Omar recalled how some suggested she remove her hijab when she was campaigning for her congressional seat.
“It was never an option for me to take off my hijab and run. And that should never be something that a Muslim woman or a girl has to contemplate if she wants to enter public life,” she said.
But when asked what specific consequences Ms Boebert should face, the representatives were vague. Ms Omar said Mr Carson was working with Democratic leadership in the House to find appropriate sanctions.
“We do know and what we will say is that this kind of hateful rhetoric and actions cannot go without punishment,” she said.
Ms Omar said she had only seen one Republican, anti-Trump Rep Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, speak out about Ms Boebert’s words. Mr Kinzinger is retiring from Congress, giving him more latitude to buck his own party.
Ms Omar also spoke out against GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy for being silent about the slurs.
“The silence speaks for itself,” she said.
Ms Tlaib said that she was not worried that she or others could face similar consequences if Republicans win back the House in the 2022 midterms.
“To me, that is not something that goes through my mind,” she told The Independent after the conference. “When I think about what’s the right thing to do.”
But Ms Greene was defiant in continuing her rhetoric.
“I never saying thing about Muslim people,” she told reporters. “I’m not regretful about what I said about Ilhan Omar specifically.”
But she also said that the group of members she called the “Jihad Squad” supported terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda, Hamas and terrorism against Israel.
When asked if she thought all Muslims support terrorism, she said “that’s a ridiculous question”.
She also said she hoped Ms Boebert would not face consequences.
“That would be a big mistake on behalf of Democrats.” She also added that she receives death threats because of press reports.
“I get death threats because of the way you people report about me,” she said. “And I receive death threats because of your bullshit.”
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