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Ilhan Omar claps back after right-wing pastor says Congress will look like ‘an Islamic republic’

Conservative pastor E.W. Jackson went on a six-minute Islamophobic rant on his radio show Wednesday, telling listeners that Muslims are “going to turn Congress into an institution of Sharia law.”

Jackson was speaking specifically about Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who, along with Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), are set to become the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

“Folks, I’m still trying to get over this whole issue of Nancy Pelosi allowing these women — these Muslim women — and apparently other women in Congress are now going to start, if this movement takes root, are going to start wearing the hijab on the floor of Congress,” said Jackson.

He went on.

“So what are we now gonna do? We’re going to turn Congress into an institution of Sharia law? I mean, folks, this stuff is just crazy … Lord help us,” he said. “Floor of Congress is now going to look like a, it’s going to look like an Islamic republic.”

Listen:

Late Thursday evening, Omar clapped back, tweeting that Jackson is “gonna have to just deal.”

“Well sir,” she said, “the floor of Congress is going to look like America…”

And she’s right. The 116th Congress is the most diverse in U.S. history, with more than 120 women elected to office after a record 272 ran for the general election. More than 110 people of color were elected to Congress and a record 219 were nominated.

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But only three representatives — Omar, Tlaib, and Andre Carson (D-IN) — of the 116th Congress are Muslim, which, when considering the fact that Muslims make up approximately 1.1 percent of the U.S. population, is actually low in terms of accurately representing U.S. demographics.  

As ThinkProgress’ Diana Ofuso reported, “people of color, and particularly women of color, over-performed in House races, though made just marginal net gains in representation.” Meanwhile, the Senate has hardly changed in terms of demographics.

Omar will be the first and only member of Congress who wears a hijab. House Democrats are seeking to overturn a ban on headware in the chamber, which would help Omar as well as other religious minorities who wear hijabs, kippas, or turbans.

Despite the demographic discrepancy between the general population and elected officials, people like Jackson continue to perpetuate the Islamophobic myth that Muslims are taking over.

“The fact that we’re electing these people to Congress … it’s beyond the pale,” he said. “I believe in freedom of religion, I believe in the First Amendment, but I’ll tell you what, I’m not voting for a Muslim to serve in any office … I’m not doing it.”

Sure, buddy. But you’re going to have to get used to it.

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