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Ilhan Omar accuses MSNBC host Joy Reid of 'Islamophobia', dividing opinion online Open in fullscreen

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Ilhan Omar accuses MSNBC host Joy Reid of 'Islamophobia', dividing opinion online

Joy Reid (L) and Ilhan Omar (R) [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2020

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The Muslim congresswoman stirred up controversy after she accused a prominent American news anchor of Islamophobia.
US Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar accused MSNBC news anchor Joy Reid of "Islamophobia" for comments she made about Muslims during a segment of her show The ReidOut.

The Muslim congresswoman, along with fellow Muslim Democrat Rashida Tlaib, are demanding the host apologise after she compared "Muslim countries" radicalising its youth to Donald Trump "radicalising Americans" with his rhetoric.

"When leaders, let's say in the Muslim world, talk a lot of violent talk and encourage their supporters to be willing to commit violence, including on their own bodies, in order to win against whoever they decide is the enemy, we in the US media describe that as they are 'radicalising' those people," Reid said during the show.

"Particularly when they're radicalising young people. That's how we talk about how Muslims act. When you see what Donald Trump is doing, is that any different from what we describe as radicalising people?"

Reid made the controversial comments alongside Newsweek Editor-at-Large Naveed Jamali, where the pair discussed the US president's recent comments, that have been deemed as inciteful.

The clip was shared online, and Omar retweeted the video, calling it "casual Islamophobia" and "hurtful and dangerous".

Taking to Twitter she wrote: "Honestly, this kinda [sic] of casual Islamophobia is hurtful and dangerous.

"We deserve better and an apology for the painful moment for so many Muslims around our country should be forthcoming."

The clip being shared, others noted, did not include Reid describing Trump seeming to rationalise violence from his supporters, like Kyle Rittenhouse, who was accused of shooting two people during Jacob Blake protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The 17-year-old had attended a Trump rally held in Des Moines, Iowa on 30 January.

Trump responded to Reid's comments with his usual Twitter class. 

"Like Fredo at Fake News @CNN, the very untalented Joy Reid should be fired for this horrible use of the words 'Muslim Terrorists'. Such xenophobia and racism on MSDNC. Anyone else would be gone, and fast!!!" he wrote. 

The US president has made multiple statements considered wildly Islamophobic in the past, and there are those who argue his tweet was hypocritical. 

Others came to Reid's defence. Conservative writer and fellow MSNBC host Jennifer Rubin tweeted:

"This is hugely misleading. She was making the point about a double standard. She was not AGREEING with it."

Muslim writer and television personality Reza Aslan criticised those going after Reid.

"What the hell is wrong with you people. @JoyAnnReid obviously meant right wing white kids are being radicalized by Trumpism the same way young Muslims have been radicalized by jihadism," he wrote.

"That is a fact."

Reid addressed the criticism on Twitter, calling it a "distortion" of her words.

"There's been some thoughtful commentary but also some willful distortion of the points I tried to make yesterday," Reid said.

Later Jamali told Newsweek Reid’s comments were misinterpreted.

"I don't understand how people are rushing to judgement but not asking me," Jamali said.

"We live in a country that is full of double standards, why is it not a fair question to ask why when it comes to extremism, we don't point out that there's a double standard between brown extremists and white extremists, in terms of how law enforcement approaches them?"

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