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Florida official: Muslim congresswoman might 'blow up Capitol Hill'

Sun Sentinel logoSun Sentinel 1/15/2019 By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel
a group of people around each other: Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) votes for Speaker-designate Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) along with her kids during the first session of the 116th Congress at the U.S. Capitol January 03, 2019 in Washington, DC. Under the cloud of a partial federal government shutdown, Pelosi will reclaim her former title as Speaker of the House and her fellow Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives for the second time in eight years. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS)  **FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY** © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/Getty Images Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) votes for Speaker-designate Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) along with her kids during the first session of the 116th Congress at the U.S. Capitol January 03, 2019 in Washington, DC. Under the cloud of a partial federal government shutdown, Pelosi will reclaim her former title as Speaker of the House and her fellow Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives for the second time in eight years. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS) **FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY**

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A Jewish commissioner from Hallandale Beach has accused a Muslim congresswoman from Michigan of being an anti-Semite who might "blow up Capitol Hill."

Her comments were directed at U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who sparked a political firestorm soon after being sworn in to Congress on Jan. 3 by vowing to help fellow Democrats go after President Donald Trump and "impeach the mother------."

Five days later, Hallandale Commissioner Annabelle Lima-Taub signed an online petition seeking to remove Tlaib from office and posted the petition on her personal Facebook page.

"Proudly signed," Lima-Taub wrote. "A Hamas-loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and (I) would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill."

Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, made history in 2018 as one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress.

Lima-Taub could not be reached for comment Monday despite two calls to her cellphone. Tlaib could not be reached for comment despite a message left with her Washington office.

It was unclear Monday whether the comment was reported to federal authorities.

The Facebook post was removed sometime Monday afternoon after the South Florida Sun Sentinel began making inquiries.

Three Hallandale Beach commissioners blasted their colleague for her lack of discretion - but stopped short of saying they would demand an apology.

Commissioners Michele Lazarow and Mike Butler accused Lima-Taub of promoting a racist stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists.

"Commissioner Lima-Taub's behavior is indefensible and a black eye for Hallandale Beach," Lazarow said.

Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana said she was stunned by what she called Lima-Taub's "outrageous" accusation.

"To say (the congresswoman) could blow up Capitol Hill is really inappropriate," Javellana said. "Congressman Steve King from Iowa has openly embraced white supremacy and I don't see anyone condemning him. Maybe she's being targeted because she's a woman and because she's a Muslim."

Muslim advocacy groups condemned Lima-Taub's remarks and demanded a public apology.

"That level of racism and bigotry has no place in Florida's politics," said Vetnah Monessar, state director for Emgage, a nonprofit focused on civic engagement among Muslim Americans. "Muslims are part of the fabric of this country. We demand that Commissioner Taub apologize to her constituents and the general public."

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

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