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-CortezThe Memo: Dangers loom for Trump on immigration Students retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump to return to North Carolina to stump for special election candidate Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyFormer GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas NJ college censures trustee over posts targeting 'the squad' MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMichigan city declines to renew contract with ICE to hold detainees Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (Mich.).

The "Jihad Squad" label is a reference to the fact they often refer to themselves as "the squad." House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Is there internet life after thirty? Pelosi says Dems 'have to be ready to throw a punch — for the children' in 2020 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 TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future 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.