After Islamophobic remarks, Republican Lauren Boebert attacks Muslim congresswoman again

Republican Congresswoman last week used anti-Muslim slurs against Democrat Ilhan Omar, and continued after a call meant to clear the air

During an event in her Colorado district last week, Lauren Boebert, right, implied Muslim congresswoman Ihan Omar was a suicide bomber. AFP
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Congresswoman Lauren Boebert unleashed a new attack against her Democratic colleague Ilhan Omar on Monday, when a phone call that was supposed to clear the air after the Republican made Islamophobic remarks last week ended acrimoniously.

Ms Boebert had initiated the call with Ms Omar, who is a Somali-American Muslim, after saying the Minnesota Democrat was a member of the “jihad squad” during an event in her Colorado district last week.

She also told a joke about being stuck in an elevator Ms Omar and fearing she was a suicide bomber.

Ms Boebert on Friday apologised “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended” for the “unnecessary distraction”.

But after Monday's call with Ms Omar, Ms Boebert posted a video on Instagram calling Ms Omar "anti-American" and suggesting she is “sympathising with terrorists”.

“As a strong Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion, so I told her that even after I put out a public statement to that effect,” Ms Boebert said in the video.

“She said she still wanted a public apology because what I had done wasn’t good enough.

“So, I told Ilhan Omar that she should make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-police rhetoric.

She said Ms Omar hung up the phone on her.

In a statement, Ms Omar said she ended the “unproductive” call after Ms Boebert “refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments” and “instead doubled down on her rhetoric".

“I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that agreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate,” Ms Omar said.

“To date, Republican leadership has done nothing to condemn and hold their own members accountable for repeated instances of anti-Muslim hate and harassment.”

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy noted at the weekend that he had contacted majority leader Steny Hoyer to arrange a meeting about Ms Boebert’s incendiary remarks..

But Mr McKenzie stopped short of condemning Ms Boebert for her attacks on Ms Omar.

The “jihad squad” term is a play on Ms Omar’s self-styled “squad”, a small group of leftist Democrats in the House that includes Palestinian-American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, another right-wing Republican congresswoman, entered the fray by repeating the slur and stating that neither Ms Omar nor the other members of the “squad” deserve an apology.

Ms Greene endorsed myriad conspiracy theories in social media posts before winning election to the House of Representatives last year, which prompted Democrats to vote largely along party lines in February to strip her of her committee assignments.

Democrats took similar action against Republican Paul Gosar this month after he posted an anime video on Twitter that depicts him killing Ms Ocasio-Cortez.

Most Republicans opposed removing Ms Greene and Mr Gosar from their committees, as it severely hampers their ability to pass their own legislation in Congress.

While Ms Boebert has so far retained her committee assignments, she earned notoriety shortly after the January 6 Capitol riot for defying security officers guarding the House floor who had asked to look through her bag after she set off a metal detector.

Ms Boebert, a staunch gun rights advocate, tweeted that “I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, DC, and within the Capitol complex".

She has also espoused the QAnon conspiracy theory that says former president Donald Trump is battling a secret Democratic cabal of paedophiles.

On Monday, Ms Boebert tweeted that “leftist panic” would ensue as Ghislaine Maxwell prepares to stand trial for her reported role in helping her deceased partner Jeffrey Epstein traffic and abuse young girls.

During the same event that she attacked Ms Omar, Ms Boebert made homophobic remarks against Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg by stating that he is trying to “chest feed” after he and his husband announced the birth of their twins through a surrogate.

Ms Omar has also come under criticism in Congress for her tweets criticising the lobbying activities of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Before entering Congress, Ms Omar tweeted in 2012 that Israel has “hypnotised the world”, although she has since apologised for that.

The congresswoman briefly became the centrepiece of Mr Trump's campaign rallies in 2019 when his supporters chanted the slogan “send her back” — implying that the former president should deport Ms Omar to Somalia despite her American citizenship.

Updated: November 30, 2021, 12:14 AM