A poster in the West Virginia State Capitol building linking Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to the September 11 terrorist attacks caused such a furor that one legislative staffer resigned, and another suffered minor injuries in a physical altercation over the incident.
As The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, Friday was a day set aside for West Virginia Republicans to celebrate themselves in the Capitol. Somehow, a poster depicting Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in front of the burning Twin Towers wound up displayed; it remains unclear who put it up or how it got there.
Above the burning towers, a caption reads, “NEVER FORGET, YOU SAID…” Below is a picture of Omar, a Muslim woman wearing her hijab (the traditional Islamic head covering) with the caption “I AM THE PROOF, YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN.”
Next to the poster was a placard for the group ACT of America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed an anti-Muslim hate group. Their description of ACT reads as follows.
“ACT has stayed true to its mission by working to advance anti-Muslim legislation at the local and federal level while flooding the American public with hate speech demonizing Muslims.”
ACT has not, as of this writing, responded to requests for comment.
As for Omar, she would have been 19 years old at the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks. She has not been suspected of having anything to do with the attacks and is not known to have been investigated by any law enforcement agency in connection to the attacks.
Mike Pushkin, a Democrat, was so incensed by the poster that he snapped a picture of it and posted it on Twitter. Pushkin’s post has been embedded below.
As The St. Paul Pioneer Press notes, was less than thrilled when he was notified about the poster.
“I said what does she have to do with 9/11. It was Islamophobic. I thought it was racist and it was wrong,” Pushkin recounted.
According to The New York Post, a verbal altercation ensued. One Democrat called the sign “ugly and hateful,” while Republicans reportedly claimed that it was a “free speech issue.” Eventually, the House Sergeant-At-Arms, Anne Lieberman, was allegedly overheard saying “all Muslims are terrorists,” and later resigned over the issue.
At some point, the verbal altercation either became physical or almost became physical, depending on conflicting reports. One thing that is known for certain is that one House staffer, identified as a “doorkeeper,” was injured during a physical dispute with another party.
Omar, for her part, noted that the incident is just the latest example of Islamophobia that she’s had to endure. She took to Twitter to weigh in on the incident.
“No wonder why I am on the ‘Hitlist’ of a domestic terrorist and ‘Assassinate Ilhan Omar’ is written on my local gas stations.”