Ilhan Omar shuts down right-wing pastor who says Congress is becoming ‘Islamic republic’

Elham Khatami

Elham Khatami Associate Editor, ThinkProgress

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, according to Right Wing Watch, which first reported the story.

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.”


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…”

Ilhan Omar@IlhanMN

Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America...

And you’re gonna have to just deal

The Hill@thehill

Conservative pastor: "The floor of Congress is going to look like an Islamic republic" 

30.2K people are talking about this

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.

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.

This story has been updated to include Right Wing Watch as the source for the audio.


Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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