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Local News

Local congressional candidates decry 'Jihad Squad' Facebook post

Democratic candidates challenging U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, in the 2020 primary election criticized an Illinois Republican group for a recent Facebook post, which referred to four Democratic congresswomen as the “Jihad Squad.”

The post appeared on the Illinois Republican County Chairman’s Association Facebook page on Friday and depicted U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib on a poster. It read, “Political jihad is their game,” and “If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology, you’re racist.”

Rush Darwish, a Chicago small-business owner and former broadcaster, released a statement saying that President Donald Trump’s “ignorant, xenophobic rhetoric is becoming the identity of the Republican party.”

“As an American Muslim, this image disgusts me!” Darwish said. “The Illinois Republican County Chairman’s Association should be ashamed of themselves.”

Darwish went a step further and called out Lipinski, saying he “doesn’t have the courage to stand up in the face of this grave injustice.”

“We have a group of brave, strong, intelligent congresswomen, citizens of the United States like you and I, that Donald Trump is using to excite the racists, white supremacists and xenophobes in his base,” Darwish said in his statement.

Marie Newman, a La Grange businesswoman, said the post should be condemned for its “hateful and un-American comments.”

“Everyone must call this out and be vigilant about preventing racists like those who created this horrible graphic from being elected,” Newman said in a Facebook post.

Abe Matthew, a Chicago attorney also challenging Lipinski, retweeted a statement from the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association which called the post “wrong” and “extreme.”

“The image echos (sic) and amplifies the racist tweets President Trump made about four Democratic Congresswomen,” the ILDCCA tweeted.

Newman, Matthew and Darwish are all running against the seven-term incumbent.

Mike Shaw, the president of the Republican County Chairman’s Association of Illinois, condemned what he called an unauthorized post on the organization’s Facebook page.

“I am sorry if anyone who saw the image was offended by the contents,” Shaw said in a statement.

He said the post was an “unfortunate distraction from the serious debate surrounding the policies advocated by these four socialist members of the United States House of Representatives [with whom] I strongly disagree.”

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