Tlaib: There’s Islamophobia in the Democratic Party

Greg Nash
Islamophobia is “very much” a part of the Democratic and Republican parties, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said in an interview that aired Sunday.
Tlaib said on Showtime’s “The Circus” that anti-Muslim bias played a big role in last week’s controversy surrounding Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). 
{mosads}”I know this would be somewhat shocking for some, but I think Islamophobia is very much among the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party,” said Tlaib. She and Omar are the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
“And I know that’s hard for people to hear, but there’s only been four members of Congress that are of Muslim faith. Three of them currently serve in this institution,” Tlaib said.
“So you think Democrats have some Islamophobia and that’s at the root of some of this consternation?” interviewer Alex Wagner asked in response.
“I think our country’s struggling with it,” Tlaib replied.
Omar came under harsh criticism from other Democrats after she made remarks widely seen as invoking an anti-Semitic dual loyalty trope that accuses Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than the United States.
It sparked calls for a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, which Democrats began drafting at the beginning of last week. But by the week’s end, after complaints from other members including progressives and lawmakers in the Congressional Black Caucus, the resolution was rewritten to also condemn many other forms of hate, including Islamophobia.
Some Jewish lawmakers were upset with the final resolution, believing it would have been better to focus on a measure simply condemning anti-Semitism. Omar at a Washington forum had said that that pro-Israel advocates “push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
The House adopted the final resolution on Thursday with the support of all Democrats, while 23 Republicans voted against it in protest that it didn’t focus on anti-Semitism in response to Omar.
Omar has stood by her remarks.
Both Tlaib and Omar have faced accusations of anti-Semitism from Republicans over their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which is critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Tlaib is also the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, in addition to being one of the first Muslim women in the institution.
“I feel like Ilhan and I both have been unfairly targeted. I think there have been double standards,” Tlaib said.
Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) is the only other Muslim lawmaker in Congress. Former Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who previously held the seat Omar now holds, was the first Muslim elected to Congress in 2006. 
Tlaib said in the interview that she was pleased the resolution condemning hate made a nod to Islamophobia.
“Of course I had mixed feelings beforehand. But the fact that we ended up with a resolution that talked about all forms of hate, including anti-Muslim hate, in our country, you know, it felt good. Being one of only three members among 435, I felt a sense of being seen, even for that moment,” Tlaib said.
Tags anti-semitism Ilhan Omar Islamophobia Israel Keith Ellison Rashida Tlaib

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