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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-CortezProgressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J vax rollout today; third woman accuses Cuomo MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHouse approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade Omar introduces bill to sanction Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi killing MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPressley says image of Black custodial staff cleaning up Capitol after Jan. 6 riot 'haunts' her DeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes DeJoy set for grilling by House Oversight panel MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibProgressives push White House to overturn wage ruling Six ways to visualize a divided America Jamaal Bowman's mother dies of COVID-19: 'I share her legacy with all of you' MORE (Mich.).

The "Jihad Squad" label is a reference to the fact they often refer to themselves as "the squad." House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Top Republican: 'Outrageous' to extend National Guard deployment at Capitol Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks 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 TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' 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.