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Gregorian writes: "Angry arguments broke out in the West Virginia statehouse on Friday after the state Republican Party allegedly set up an anti-Muslim display in the rotunda linking the 9/11 terror attacks to a freshman congresswoman from Minnesota."

Representative Ilhan Omar. (photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)
Representative Ilhan Omar. (photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)

GOP's Anti-Muslim Display Likening Rep. Omar to a Terrorist Rocks West Virginia Capitol

By Dareh Gregorian, NBC News

02 March 19

"We have allowed national level politics to become a cancer on our state," the House speaker said.

ngry arguments broke out in the West Virginia statehouse on Friday after the state Republican Party allegedly set up an anti-Muslim display in the rotunda linking the 9/11 terror attacks to a freshman congresswoman from Minnesota.

One staff member was physically injured during the morning's confrontations, and another official resigned after being accused of making anti-Muslim comments.

The display featured a picture of the World Trade Center in New York City as a fireball exploded from the one of the Twin Towers, set above a picture of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim.

"'Never forget' - you said. . ." read a caption on the first picture. "I am the proof - you have forgotten," read the caption under the picture of Omar, who is wearing a hijab.

Omar tweeted about the incident later on Friday.

"No wonder why I am on the 'Hitlist' of a domestic terrorist and 'Assassinate Ilhan Omar' is written on my local gas stations," she wrote.

The display was set up as part of "WV GOP Day," which the party advertised on Facebook as a day when "Republicans Take the Rotunda."

Several Democrats objected to the display, and reportedly got into an argument with the House's sergeant at arms, Anne Lieberman, after she allegedly made an anti-Muslim remark.

Del. Mike Angelucci, D-Marion, charged Lieberman had said "all Muslims are terrorists."

He said that was "hate speech."

"Muslims are not terrorists. Christians have killed people. That doesn’t mean Christians are terrorists. I am a Christian. I am a proud Christian. I am not a terrorist," he said, according to WSAZ.

"I am furious, and I don't want to see her representing the people of this great state in the House again," Angelucci said of Lieberman, who became the state's first female sergeant at arms last year. Speaking to West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Lieberman denied she'd made the comment. By the end of the day she had submitted her resignation "effective immediately," officials said.

The outrage continued on the House floor, where Del. Mike Pushkin, a Democrat, took aim at the display.

"It's ugly, it's hateful and there's absolutely no place for it in American politics," Pushkin said, according to WVNews. "Not in the country that I love. Not in the state that I love. We all give up our time during this time of year to come up here and serve our constituents because we love this state. Well, I love everybody in the state no matter what they look like, who they pray to, who they love. I'm tired of it. It disgusts me."

Pushkin, who's Jewish, added, "I'm proud to live in a country that somebody can come into this country with absolutely nothing and wind up in the halls of Congress representing the state of Minnesota."

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw issued a statement saying his office is investigating what happened.

"As we began today’s floor session, we had a series of incidents occur in and outside of our Chamber that absolutely do not reflect the character and civility the people of this state demand of their public servants. Leadership of the House of Delegates is currently working to investigate these incidents to learn firsthand the factual basis of what occurred, and will respond with appropriate action," the statement said.

"The West Virginia House of Delegates unequivocally rejects hate in all of its forms."

The House is made up of 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats.

In later remarks on the floor, Hanshaw said an unidentified staffer had been injured during the confrontations, but gave no other details. "I bluntly struggle with what even to say," he said. "We have allowed national level politics to become a cancer on our state . . to invade our chamber in a way that makes me ashamed."

"We can do better," he added.

Another Republican delegate, Eric Porterfield, was hit with calls to resign last month after he called LGBTQ groups "the closest thing to political terrorism in America" and "a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan."

"Let me (be) very clear with my statement," Porterfield told NBC News then. "The LGBTQ — not homosexuals — are the modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan."

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+19 # BetaTheta 2019-03-02 20:20
Three years ago, such behavior in a state capitol would have been unthinkable. We must never get numb to this sort of thing.
+17 # Adoregon 2019-03-02 22:51
A whole lot of ignorant, small minded, fearful people are roaming about this country unable to accept and love people who are different than they are.

Doesn't say much for compassion or understanding.
+12 # elizabethblock 2019-03-03 08:01
When I was a child, you called people you didn't like communists. Now it's terrorists. There are real, actual terrorists - what should we call them?
+11 # REDPILLED 2019-03-03 09:17
What should we call them?

How about White Supremacists, racists, and RethugliKKKans?
+6 # economagic 2019-03-03 14:52
How about Christian extremists and Christian terrorists? I'm thinking of Dylan Roof and others who take it upon themselves to cleanse the world of people whom they fear and whom they fail to understand.
0 # Anne Frank 2019-03-04 15:23
+14 # REDPILLED 2019-03-03 08:49
I plan to call Rep. Omar's office Monday to tell her I support her criticism of AIPAC and condemn this outrageous RethugliKKKan poster depicting her as a terrorist.

If any harm happens to her, it will be the fault of the rabidly anti-Muslim RethugliKKKans plus the cowardly, pro-AIPAC Democrats such as Eliot Engel. 

Congressional Switchboard: 202-225-3121
+2 # Billsy 2019-03-04 14:33
Great idea. I'm also going to phone my representative, Pelosi asking that she support & back her democratic colleague. They need to quit throwing progressives under the GOP bus. Rep. Omar is a breath of fresh air.
+12 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-03-03 09:57
That hateful morons are not only permitted but are elected to proclaim their destructive, sociopathic poison in government chambers is a grim indictment of US society.
+4 # ktony 2019-03-03 14:02
It is grim indeed. Well Said.
+3 # ddd-rrr 2019-03-03 10:12
It appears that stupidity, racism, intolerance of "the different", etc.
are still very much "alive" in many of our citizens, an unexpected
truth that exists in this otherwise amazingly well-informed age
that we now have the privilege of living in. I guess people
need to actively learn how to separate
truth from fiction.

Unfortunately, it also appears that too many still do not realize the
need for such self-education, with its resultant self-improvemen t.
+2 # tidyidy 2019-03-04 08:27
Rep Ilhan Omar is receiving so much attention because she is - not represents - because she is a threat to: who?

She is a threat to everyone who is fearfully grasping what they think they own, what they fear losing.

Heather MacDonald a much published writer who is very fond of her own opinions of what is and what should be, on BookTV yesterday, stated that Omar's proposal for a future with renewable energy will completely destroy air and automobile travel. She is a beautifully groomed successful woman, enjoying immense privilege because she was well-born and
-educated in a world that favors $$$ and whiteness. Her tone of voice is such as to contribute to the atmosphere of contempt that is dominating public discussion and contributing to private discussion. I listened carefully enough to know I can agree with some of the ideas underlying her pronouncements. I suggest that she has nothing to contribute to the discussion at this time when the pace and breadth of social and political change are more than most of us can deal with - much less understand. That idea works in reverse as well.

Rep Omar and her colleagues have presented a radical vision of a future: for inspiration, discussion, ONLY. Planning and replanning and negotiation to follow in due time. And they have frightened the fearful A LOT. " . . . the valiant die but once."

So, who are we? You?

+1 # Anne Frank 2019-03-04 15:28
Where are the corporate media demanding an apology and denouncing real Islamophobia with even a smidgen of the vehemence with which they denounce imaginary anti-Semitism?

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