Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Florida official under fire for saying Rashida Tlaib might 'blow up' US Capitol

The city commissioner called the first Muslim woman to serve in Congress a 'danger'

US House Representative Rashida Tlaib participates in a ceremonial swearing-in at the start of the 116th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. AFP
US House Representative Rashida Tlaib participates in a ceremonial swearing-in at the start of the 116th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. AFP

An official from Florida is facing increasing criticism for calling the first Muslim Congresswoman a "danger" who might "blow up" the US Capitol.

Annabelle Lima-Taub, a city commissioner in south Florida, signed an online petition on a crowdsourced site known as "We The People" to have Rashida Tlaib removed from office and left a scathing message with it.

"Proudly signed," Ms Lima-Taub wrote, according to a screen grab of the post. "A Hamas-loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and [I] would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill." She later deleted the post after a local newspaper asked her about it.

The petition garnered more than 100,000 signatures, which requires that the White House respond to it.

Ms Tlaib, who is also the first Palestinian-American to enter Congress, has gained notoriety for criticising US President Donald Trump. She said last month that she wanted to "impeach that motherf-----".

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Ms Tlaib lashed out at the official on Twitter. “This sort of hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric doesn’t happen in a vacuum — this President embraced it and Republicans have happily gone along with it,” she wrote.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America's top Muslim body, called for Ms Lima-Taub to step down.

“CAIR-Florida strongly condemns the disgraceful racist and Islamophobic statements published by Commissioner Annabelle Lima-Taub,” Wilfredo Ruiz, the CAIR Florida chapter ’s communication director, said in a statement. “Her un-American, xenophobic statements establish that she is unfit to hold the Commissioner’s seat.”

Her colleagues on the commission at Hallandale Beach, a community of around 40,000, criticised her remarks.

“Commissioner Lima-Taub’s behavior is indefensible and a black eye for Hallandale Beach,” said Michele Lazarow, another Hallandale commissioner, according to the Florida-based Sun Sentinel newspaper.

Ms Lima-Taub was born in Israel but grew up in New York, according to her biography on the community's website.

Updated: January 16, 2019 06:09 PM

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