Rep. Rashida Tlaib Links ‘White Supremacy’ Agenda Behind Mosque Killings to Support for Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’

By Patrick Goodenough | March 17, 2019 | 6:50pm EDT
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

( –Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), speaking in the context of the killing of 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, suggested Sunday that people in America who “stay silent” and those who “support the Muslim ban” are facilitating a “white supremacy” agenda.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Tlaib was asked about a comment she made Friday, after news of the mass killing at two mosques in Christchurch broke.

“You said in a statement after the attack that you were angry at, quote, those who follow the white supremacy agenda in my own country that sends a signal across the world that massacres like this are a call to action,” said host Jake Tapper. “Who are you specifically talking about?”

“The ones that stay silent and the ones that support the Muslim ban,” she replied, in reference to President Trump’s 2017 travel orders and proclamations.

“Not only once, but twice, three times, did we in this nation say to the world and to everyone in this country that Muslims don’t belong here. From the fact that every time we talk about a wall, it’s not about a structure, but about xenophobia. It’s about racism.”

“It's a symbol in so many ways of, of targeting brown and black people in our country,” Tlaib continued. “The fact that we continue to stay silent is what’s going to make us, as a country, less safe.”

Tlaib added that brown and black people weren’t alone in speaking out.

“It’s also white Americans across this country that are very distressed and also feel less safe because we’re not speaking up against white nationalism.”

‘The president is not a white supremacist’

The Australian man accused of the mass murder in New Zealand posted a lengthy manifesto railing against migrant “invaders” seeking to occupy Western countries and “ethnically replace my own people.”

Much has been made of the fact that, in the manifesto, the accused shooter wrote, in reference to whether he supported Trump, “As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure.”

He then added, “As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.”

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, appearing on Fox News Sunday, pushed back against attempts to link Trump to the attack in New Zealand.

“The president is not a white supremacist,” he said. “I’m not sure how many times we have to say that. And to simply ask the question, every time something like this happens overseas – or even domestically – to say, oh, my goodness, it must somehow be the president’s fault, speaks to a politicization of everything that I think is undermining sort of the institutions that we have in the country today.”

“Let’s take what happened in New Zealand yesterday for what it is – a terrible evil, tragic act and figure out why those things are becoming more prevalent in the world,” Mulvaney said. “Is it Donald Trump? Absolutely not.”

“Is there something else happening in our culture where people go,  know what, I think today I'm going to go on TV and livestream me murdering other people? That’s what we should be talking about,” he added. “Not the politics of the United States.”

‘Muslim ban’?

The presidential travel orders referred to by Tlaib and others as “Muslim bans” apply to nationals of a small minority of Muslim-majority countries, and less than one-tenth of the world’s Muslims.

Presidential Proclamation 9645, the third iteration of the executive order, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in a 5-4 decision last June, applies to five Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen (a sixth, Chad, had been removed two months before the court ruling) – and partially to two non-Muslim countries, North Korea and Venezuela.

Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen together account for a population of roughly 132 million people – about eight percent of the world’s estimated 1.6 billion Muslims (a conservative estimate, since Pew’s figure for 2010 was 1.599 billion and its projected figure for 2020 is 1.907 billion.)

While five Muslim countries are affected, another 52 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIL) are not, and they include six countries which, together, account for more than half of the world’s Muslims –Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Egypt and Turkey.

Five Muslim-majority countries are affected by the travel ban; the OIC bloc of Islamic states has 57 members.

Moreover, not all nationals of the five countries are covered by the travel ban. Those exempted include holders of Green Cards and current visas, dual nationals traveling on passports of unaffected countries, diplomats, asylees, and already-admitted refugees.

The State Department reported last month than 37,029 visa applications had been turned down in 2018 because of Proclamation 9645. Of those, 15,384 were for immigrant visas and 21,645 for nonimmigrant visas.

The proclamation states that “it is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks and other public-safety threats.”

All five affected Muslim countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen – were identified as security risks by the Obama administration in 2015 and 2016, when the Department of Homeland Security determined that those five, as well as Iraq and Sudan, raised legitimate terrorism concerns.

As a result, visitors from those seven countries were eligible for additional security under legislation signed by President Obama in late 2015, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.

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