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

The Hill logo The Hill 7/21/2019 Owen Daugherty
Ilhan Omar, Michelle Jenneke looking at the camera: Illinois GOP group shares, then deletes meme labeling minority congresswomen 'Jihad Squad' © Greg Nash Illinois GOP group shares, then deletes meme labeling minority congresswomen 'Jihad Squad'

The Illinois Republican County Chairman's Association 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 Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

The "Jihad Squad" label is a reference to the fact they often refer to themselves as "the Squad." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also referred to the women by that nickname in a recent interview.

The meme, appearing to be created from the movie poster for the 2013 film "Gangster Squad," features the subhead "political jihad is their game."

"If you don't agree with their socialist ideology you're racist" reads the tagline at the bottom.

It is unclear who originally created the meme attacking the congresswomen.

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

The Hill has reached out to the association's president for comment.

Illinois GOP chairman Tim Schneider issued a statement Sunday evening in response to the Facebook post.

"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 Hill has also reached out to the Cook County Democratic Party for comment.

Omar and Tlaib last year became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Neither Ocasio-Cortez nor Pressley are 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 that the four progressive congresswomen are "incapable of loving our Country."


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