Poster linking Rep. Ilhan Omar to 9/11 attacks rocks West Virginia state house

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The incident sparked violence and a resignation.

A poster linking Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, caused uproar in the West Virginia House of Delegates on Friday.

The poster, which superimposed a photo of Rep. Omar over the World Trade Center in flames, was part of a display for a day celebrating the GOP at West Virginia’s state house. The text read, “‘Never forget,’ — You said,” and “I am the proof —you have forgotten” over the picture of Rep. Omar.

The incident sparked violence, with Democratic Del. Mike Caputo kicking open a door and injuring a doorkeeper.

“I feel just as horrible about that as you could ever imagine,” Del. Caputo told West Virginia’s WSAZ3.

Sergeant-at-Arms Anne Lieberman resigned after the incident, as well. Lieberman was accused of saying, “All Muslims are terrorists,” during the incident, although she disputed this account in a statement on her Facebook page on Sunday. Lieberman wrote that she said “Not all Muslims are terrorists,” but pointed out that those who attacked the World  Trade Center were all Muslim.

The West Virginia Republican Party issued a statement on Saturday rebuking the poster.

Robert McCaw, the Director of Government Affairs at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told the Daily Dot, “It’s one thing for the West Virginia Republican party to claim it does not endorse hate speech. It’s another thing to rebuke Islamophobia and apologize to Rep. Omar.”

“It broadly denounces all forms of hatred. It doesn’t have the courage to call out the Islamophobia that’s rising in the ranks of the Republican party,” McCaw continued.

Rep. Omar commented on the incident on Twitter on Friday.

“No wonder why I am on the ‘Hitlist’ of a domestic terrorist and ‘Assassinate Ilhan Omar’ is written on my local gas stations. Look no further, the GOP’s anti-Muslim display likening me to a terrorist rocks in state capitols and no one is condemning them,” referring to a February incident in which a white supremacist Coast Guard lieutenant stockpiled weapons and had Omar’s name on a hit list.

Rep. Omar’s office did not respond to a request for further comment by press time.

Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw said his office would investigate the incident. A request for comment from Hanshaw’s office was not returned by press time.

It is still unclear who is responsible for the poster. A statement from ACT for America, an anti-Muslim advocacy group, denies responsibility for the poster.

However, according to NPR, a woman wearing a shirt bearing the ACT for America logo claimed responsibility for the poster.

“ACT for America is a designated member of the U.S. Islamophobia and its mission is to promote toxic beliefs about Muslim American citizens,” said McCaw.

Some of Omar’s colleagues in Congress have come to her defense, including Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

Ellen Ioanes

Ellen Ioanes

Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.