Rashida Tlaib accuses party leadership of denying Muslim congresswomen ‘freedom of speech’

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib was mocked by social media users Thursday after taking to Twitter to complain that her party leaders don’t allow “Muslim women” to exercise “freedom of speech.”

Earlier, a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Vice Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) took aim at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) over her recent disparaging comments about Israel.

On Monday, Omar tweeted a video of her questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House hearing while suggesting that the U.S. and Israeli governments were no different than the Taliban in Afghanistan or Hamas, an Iran-supported terrorist organization located in the Middle East.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice,” she tweeted.

Last month during the latest brief war between Israel and Hamas, which began after the latter began launching salvos of missiles into the Jewish state, Omar took to Twitter again to suggest that Israel was guilty of “crimes against humanity.”

“The United States should not stand idly by while crimes against humanity are being committed with our backing,” she wrote in a tweet containing a screenshot of her “statement on proposed arms sale to Israel amidst escalating violence and human rights abuses in Gaza.”

In their Thursday statement, House leaders referenced Omar specifically in chiding her for making a “false equivalency” between democracies and terrorist organizations.

“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate. And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies,” the leaders wrote.

“But drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all,” the leaders wrote, adding: “We welcome clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”

In response to the leadership statement, Tlaib complained that “Muslim women” in the Democratic Party do not have “freedom of speech.” She also suggested that the leadership statement was racist.

“Freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing of Congresswomen of color,” Tlaib wrote.

But her claims were quickly seized upon by several other users who noted that no one was stopping her from voicing her opinion.

“You have freedom of speech. What you want is to be free from criticism,” one user responded.

“If that were true then we wouldn’t have to endure your blatant anti-semitic drivel day in and out,” another user pointed out.

“Freedom of speech does not guarantee immunity from criticism or accountability,” wrote another user.

Another commenter quoted former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who said, “it’s about you supporting Hamas and Hezbollah – not your gender or religion.”

Other users made similar comments and observations.

Warning: Strong language

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Jon Dougherty

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