‘Jihad squad’ joke about Ilhan Omar kicks up a storm

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Controversial congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) has been accused of “anti-Muslim bigotry” after a video emerged of her joking about lawmaker Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) being part of a “jihad squad.”

The 75-second clip, posted on Twitter by the PatriotTakes group, shows Boebert addressing what it described as a Thanksgiving gathering and making a quip about having shared an elevator in the US Capitol building with Omar and a staffer. When Omar entered the elevator, the GOP congresswoman joked, she told the staffer they “should be fine” since the Democrat “doesn’t have a backpack.”

This prompted applause and laughter from the crowd, prompting Boebert to deliver her punchline: that the “jihad squad (had) decided to show up for work” that day.

Dismissing the anecdote as “made up,” Omar called Boebert a “buffoon (who) looks down when she sees me at the Capitol.” She tweeted that it was “sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout,” adding that “anti-Muslim bigotry” was not “funny and shouldn’t be normalized.”

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“Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation,” she wrote. Omar and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), who are part of a group of progressive lawmakers collectively called ‘the Squad’, were the first two Muslim women elected to the US Capitol.

The clip, which has been viewed over 2.8 million times on Twitter, drew widespread condemnation, and calls for Boebert to be censured and stripped of her committee roles. Tlaib tweeted that such “pathetic racist lies” put Omar’s life in danger and would “increase hate crimes towards Muslims.”

“The continued silence (and) inaction towards this hate-filled colleague and others is enabling violence. It must stop,” she wrote.

Other members of the Squad also responded. Representative Cori Bush (D-Missouri) described Capitol Hill as a “toxic work environment” for Muslims, with “bigots routinely (spewing) racist, Islamophobic vitriol unchecked and with no consequence.”

Meanwhile, Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts) termed the remarks as a “shameful, deeply offensive (and) dangerous” display of “Islamophobia” against Omar and called on anyone acting in this way to be “denounced … and held to account.”

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