Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who this year joined fellow Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota as the first Muslim women in Congress, said in a recent interview that she was “really afraid of my fellow Americans” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“I was probably my second year in law school when 9/11 happened,” Tlaib said during the interview, which was filmed for the website Makers. “And I was — I was really terrified of what was going to happen to my husband, who’s only a green card holder at the time.
“I immediately called my brothers and told them to be very careful who you hang out with, telling my sisters, you know, just be real careful out there, and being really afraid of my fellow Americans.
“It really pushed me to be more involved, and I got really curious and really angry. And I think that combination got me, you know, in front of a number of issues in the city of Detroit.”
Tlaib’s comments continue a focus upon the events and aftermath of 9/11 by Tlaib, Omar and fellow freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
In March, Omar addressed a Los Angeles meeting of the Council on American Islamic Relations and brought up the aftermath of the attacks.
“For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it,” she said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“[The Council on American-Islamic Relations] was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” Omar said.
The comments rebounded across America in April after the New York Post used her words “some people did something” on its front page, along with a picture of the World Trade Center under attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Some people did something.”
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) April 11, 2019
Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez were among those who defended Omar’s comments.
I’m not going to quote the NY Post’s horrifying, hateful cover.
Here’s 1 fact: @IlhanMN is a cosponsor of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. She‘s done more for 9/11 families than the GOP who won’t even support healthcare for 1st responders- yet are happy to weaponize her faith.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 11, 2019
In an interview with MSNBC, Tlaib said using just a piece of Omar’s comments was “racist.”
“They do this all the time to us, especially women of color,” she said. “They do that. They take our words out of context because they are afraid because we speak truth, we speak truth to power. My sister, Ilhan Omar, what she was talking about was uplifting people by supporting their civil liberties and their civil rights. …
“Taking it out of context, this is just a pure racist act by many of those, hateful acts by those, because she does speak truth when it talks about different issues that they disagree with. I’m really outraged because as a person that has gotten direct death threats myself, I know that her life is put in more danger.”
Ocacio-Cortez also indicated she shared Tlaib’s indictment of America’s reaction to the attacks.
“One of the ugly aftermaths of 9/11 that is too often ignored is the codified profiling of Muslim-Americans solely bc of their faith. No-fly lists. Warantless mosque surveillance. All of it. To fear+suspect all Muslims due to the actions of terrorists is bigotry. Plain & simple,” she tweeted.
One of the ugly aftermaths of 9/11 that is too often ignored is the codified profiling of Muslim-Americans solely bc of their faith.
No-fly lists. Warantless mosque surveillance. All of it.
To fear+suspect all Muslims due to the actions of terrorists is bigotry. Plain & simple. https://t.co/gYgzAe6xGv
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 13, 2019
Tlaib previously came under fire for remarks many perceived to be anti-Semitic when she attacked her congressional colleagues for supporting a bill to allow government agencies to avoid doing business with entities that support the anti-Israel boycott-divestment-sanction movement.
“They forgot what country they represent,” Tlaib tweeted. “This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality.”
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