Illinois GOP group shares, then deletes meme labeling minority congresswomen 'Jihad Squad'

The Illinois Republican County Chairmen’s Association (IRCCA) shared and later apparently deleted a movie poster-style meme labeling four Democratic minority congresswomen the “Jihad Squad.”

The post was shared on the group’s Facebook page early Saturday morning and featured images of Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez calls for Stephen Miller to resign over leaked emails Ocasio-Cortez meets Sasha Velour following DC performance Sanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Overnight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJustice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders: Fighting anti-Semitism 'is very personal' Bloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won't Justice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability MORE (Mich.).

The "Jihad Squad" label is a reference to the fact they often refer to themselves as "the squad." House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGiuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union MORE (D-Calif.) also referred to the women as "the squad" in a recent interview.

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The meme appeared to be created from the movie poster for the 2013 film “Gangster Squad.” It is unclear who created it.

"Political jihad is their game," read one tagline. "If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology you’re racist," read another.

Jihad is a term that refers to a struggle against the enemies of Islam.

Mark Shaw, president of the IRCCA, issued a statement Sunday night after the post was deleted.

"I condemn this unauthorized posting and it has been deleted," Shaw wrote in a post on the group's Facebook page. "I am sorry if anyone who saw the image was offended by the contents."

Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider also issued a statement Sunday evening.

"I strongly condemn evoking race or religion as the basis for political disagreement," he said. "The recent social media post coming from the IRCCA does not reflect my values or the Illinois Republican Party’s values. Bigoted rhetoric greatly distracts from legitimate and important policy debates and further divides our nation."

Local political reporter for ABC 7 Chicago Craig Wall tweeted that the Cook County Democratic Party condemned the meme. 

"The post perpetuates the recent attacks by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE, promoting lies and racism to alienate immigrants, women, and people of color. This language of hatred and bigotry has no room in our society and has dangerous consequences," a spokesperson for the Cook County Democratic Party told The Hill.

Omar and Tlaib last year became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Neither Ocasio-Cortez nor Pressley is Muslim.

The since-deleted meme comes a week after President Trump attacked the four congresswomen on Twitter, telling them to “go back” to the countries they came from. 

All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens, and only Omar was born outside the country. She came to America at the age of 12 as a refugee with her family after fleeing Somalia.

Trump’s attacks were formally condemned as “racist comments” in a resolution passed by the House last week, largely along party lines.

Trump has since doubled down on his attacks, tweeting Sunday, "I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country."

Updated on Monday at 9:42 a.m.