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U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Sunday called on President Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists as New Zealand continues to reel from an attack on two mosques by an avowed white supremacist.

"He can't just say (white supremacy is not on the rise) when the facts state the  opposite," Tlaib said while speaking to CNN host Jake Tapper Sunday morning. "He needs to do better by us as a country. He needs to speak up and condemn this very loud and very clearly."

Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat, is one of three Muslims in congress and one of two Muslim women who were elected last fall. 

She said Trump "needs to pick up the phone and call the Department of Justice".

"There is real data and information currently right now on the rise of white supremacy right here in these United States of America," she told Tapper. 

Two mosques were attacked in Christchurch on Friday and a total of 50 Muslims who were worshiping have been declared dead. Another 34 victims remain hospitalized.  

White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder in the slayings and a judge said Saturday that it was reasonable to assume more charges would follow.

On Sunday, Tlaib also came to the defense of fellow freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota and also a Muslim. She is in hot water over controversial remarks about Israel that have been perceived by some as being anti-Semitic.

"She's become very much a target," said Tlaib. "Is it because she's a Black American and she's Muslim."

Trump was slow to condemn white supremacists who marched violently in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. And he has jumped at the chance to prolong and weaponize Omar's comments and the issue of anti-Semitism for his 2020 campaign.

Omar sparked a political firestorm with comments suggesting House supporters of Israel have dual allegiances. It derailed the Democrats’ focus on investigations of the Trump administration, including a public back-and-forth over how, or even if, her party should condemn her comments.

A resolution to condemn anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hate, which passed the House overwhelmingly, didn’t call out Omar by name.

Tlaib told Tapper there has been a "double standard" applied for those on Capitol Hill  who also have used anti-Semitic language but were not condemned for it because they are not Muslim.

Tlaib said she feels there is Islamophobia within the Democratic and Republican political parties.

"I feel it's still very present on both sides of the aisle," said Tlaib. 

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

 

 

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