A display in the West Virginia statehouse equating Rep. Ilhan Omar to al-Qaida terrorists behind the attacks on Sept. 11, 2011, sparked a confrontation between Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Friday, according to NBC News.
One person was physically injured and another resigned as a result of the incident that centered on the freshman Minnesota Democrat, NBC reported.
An image of the poster that caused the confrontation was shared on social media by Democratic Del. Mike Pushkin. It shows an image of the World Trade Center just after terrorists hit the second tower with a civilian airliner.
“‘Never forget’ – you said … ” reads the caption above the image of the burning towers.
“I am the proof – you have forgotten” reads the next caption below an image of Omar, who is Muslim.
“No wonder why I am on the ‘Hitlist’ of a domestic terrorist and ‘Assassinate Ilhan Omar’ is written on my local gas stations,” Omar tweeted with a link to the NBC story.
Omar has come under fire in recent weeks for her criticisms of Israel. Last month, she apologized for, and later deleted, a series of tweets about Israel that were condemned by both Democrats and Republicans as anti-Semitic.
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The display was put up just outside the House of Delegates chamber as part of the West Virginia Republican Party’s inaugural WVGOP Day called “Republicans Take the Rotunda!”
Democrats who were outraged by the display got into a disagreement with the House sergeant at arms, Anne Lieberman, reported West Virginia MetroNews. Lieberman responded by saying “All Muslims are terrorists,” according to Democratic Del. Michael Angelucci. Lieberman submitted a letter of resignation on Friday.
Minority Whip Mike Caputo was so upset by the display that he kicked open the door to the chamber, injuring a doorkeeper in the process, MetroNews reported.
“I’m the one who kicked the door open. That’s how angry I was. I went over to that poster and I said it was a racist poster,” Caputo told MetroNews. “I apologize for my anger. I don’t like getting this way. I’m very angry today.”
“I cannot understand why it is so hard for my Republican colleagues to say it is wrong to display an islamaphobic, hateful poster in the Capitol this morning,” Pushkin said in a tweet.
“The West Virginia House of Delegates unequivocally rejects hate in all of its forms,” West Virginia House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, a Republican, said in a statement Friday.
“As we began today’s floor session, we had a series of incidents occur in and outside of our Chamber that absolutely do not reflect the character and civility the people of this state demand of their public servants. Leadership of the House of Delegates is currently working to investigate these incidents to learn firsthand the factual basis of what occurred, and will respond with appropriate action,” the statement said.
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