US Republican faces backlash for suggesting Ilhan Omar be hanged

George Buck, who is running for Congress, is the second Republican to reportedly suggest the Muslim politician be hanged

    Representative Ilhan Omar attends a press event on the first 200 days of the 116th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, US [File: Mary F Calvert/Reuters]
    Representative Ilhan Omar attends a press event on the first 200 days of the 116th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, US [File: Mary F Calvert/Reuters]

    A US Republican congressional candidate from Florida called for the hanging of Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar and other Democrats in a fundraising email last week, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Tuesday. 

    In his email, George Buck, who is running for Congress, reportedly suggested that Omar be executed for treason. 

    "We should hang these traitors were they stand," the email allegedly read. 

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    According to the Tampa Bay Times, Buck initially said a staff member had mistakenly sent the email, but later backtracked and sent the Florida newspaper a statement that stood by his comments.

    "Anyone who commits treason against the United States should be tried to the full extent of the law," he said.

    In response to his comments, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) on Wednesday said it removed Buck from its "Young Guns" programme, Politico reported. The NRCC helps candidates run successful campaigns against their Democratic opponents. 

    Buck is the second Republican in the past week to attack Omar, a member of a small progressive bloc called the "Squad" and a Muslim who fled war-torn Somalia with her family as a child. 

    A campaign account for Danielle Stella, a Republican challenger to Omar, was banned from Twitter after suggesting Omar be hanged, along with a picture of a stick figure hanging from the gallows. 

    Omar, who is a frequent target of President Donald Trump has been subjected to numerous attacks and death threats since taking office in January, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this year to ask US Capitol Police to increase its security efforts around Omar.

    Ilhan Omar 2
    Ilhan Omar takes part in a discussion on 'Impacts of Phobia in Our Civic and Political Discourse' during the Muslim Caucus Education Collective’s conference in Washington, US [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters] 

    In October, a Republican state senator posted a long-debunked photo that purports to show Omar holding a weapon at an al-Qaeda training camp. The photo was taken in 1978, four years before Omar was born in 1982.

    Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib, another member of the Squad, on Wednesday called on her colleagues to speak out against such attacks.

    "The fact that those who make these violent threats very publicly without hesitation reaffirms just how much white supremacy has spread within the NRCC. They are raising money on a call to hang a Black Muslim member of Congress and too many are silent," Tlaib tweeted.  

    Both Buck and Stella based their accusations of treason on a recent unsubstantiated report by the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post that accused Omar of being a Qatari agent and passing sensitive information to Iran. Omar has vehemently denied the claims, with her spokesperson telling the newspaper that "since the day she was elected, Saudi Arabian trolls and mouthpieces have targeted Omar with misinformation and conspiracy theories."

    On Twitter, Omar added: "Since the day I won my first primary elections against a 44yr incumbent in 2016, misinformation and conspiracy theories have become part of my daily existence. The stories keep getting outlandishly absurd, and this latest one is no exception!" 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News