CHARLESTON: Furore erupted after an anti-Muslim poster outside the West Virginia House of Delegates chamber falsely connecting a freshman congresswoman to the Sept 11 attack, causing the resignation of a Capitol staffer and the reported injury of another.
The poster, which loomed over a table loaded with other anti-Muslim flyers on a “WV GOP Day” at the legislature on Friday, bore an image of the burning World Trade Centre juxtaposed with a picture of US Rep Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim congresswomen ever elected.
“ ‘Never forget’ You said,” was written over the Twin Towers. On Omar’s picture, a caption read, “I am the proof you have forgotten.”
“No wonder why I am on the “Hitlist” of a domestic terrorist and “Assassinate Ilhan Omar” is written on local gas stations,” Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, wrote on Twitter as the images went viral.
“Look no further, the GOP’s anti-Muslim display likening me to a terrorist rocks in state capitols and no one is condemning them!”
On Saturday, the West Virginia’s Republican party condemned the appearance of the anti-Muslim flyers and posters.
“Our party supports freedom of speech, but we do not endorse speech that advances intolerant and hateful views,” West Virginia Republican Party Chairwoman Melody Potter wrote in a statement, which added that they did not approve of the sign and had asked the exhibitor to remove it. No one acknowledged permitting the display.
The group whose name appeared on a sign next to the display, ACT for America, has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. The organisation, which describes itself as a national security advocacy group, issued a statement on Saturday saying it was not behind the images.
“Anyone who claimed to be with ACT for America was doing so without the permission and approval of ACT for America,” the statement read.
“ACT has one million members and 45,000 activists and chapter leaders. It is impossible for our National headquarter for monitor the behaviour of every single individual who claims to represent us.”