Rep. Rashida Tlaib says Islamophobia still 'very present on both sides of the aisle' in Congress

Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib said on Sunday that Islamophobia is a problem on both sides of the aisle in Congress.

The remarks from the Michigan congresswoman who, along with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, is one of only two Muslim women in Congress, came during a discussion about criticism directed at Omar over accusations of anti-Semitism regarding her controversial comments about Israel, including her assertions of its influence on U.S. foreign policy.

"I pause and think to myself 'is it because she's a black American and she's Muslim?' And so that's where I pause and say to myself, 'Is there an issue here?' And I guess our mere presence there. The fact that now there's not only one but now three Muslim Americans serving in Congress," Tlaib said on CNN's "State of the Union."


Rep. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat who has served in Congress since 2008, also identifies as Muslim.

Tlaib was accused of being anti-Semitic in January when, in response to comments posted by Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, she suggested that Senate Republicans were more loyal to Israel than the U.S. The incident happened amid a report that GOP leaders were planning to introduce a bill that would punish companies that participate in the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" (BDS) movement against Israel. BDS proponents seek to pressure Israel through economic and other means over the country's treatment of Palestinians.

"They forgot what country they represent," Tlaib, a who made history last week by becoming one of the first two Muslim women to ever serve in Congress, wrote.

"That our mere presence is going to able to possibly break down any of these kinds of racialized, you know, opinions, this kind of Islamophobia that I do feel like is still very present on both sides of the aisle. And I think my colleagues are not seeing that as an attack. It's just saying that we just have a lot of work to do," she told CNN.

"And I can tell you I've been there long enough to see that there are some issues there — again, on the other side of the aisle — that continue to be held — they're being held unaccountable," Tlaib, who was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents, added.


Tlaib has been a vocal critic of President Trump's policies and called for his impeachment in remarks to her supporters, saying: “People love you and you win. ... And when your son looks at you and says, ‘Momma, look you won. Bullies don’t win.’ And I said, ‘Baby, they don’t, because we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf---er.’”

In response to her initial comments, Trump called them “disgraceful” and said that they “dishonored herself and dishonored her family.”

The liberal congresswoman told CNN that she and Omar "want to be heard, and we want to be seen beyond whatever these kinds of labels that people like to put on us."

"And I think we just become an easier target for folks. And that's what worries me," she said.

Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report.