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Florida official facing calls to resign for saying Muslim Rep. Tlaib might 'blow up' U.S. Capitol

The Hallandale Beach city commissioner said that the Muslim lawmaker, a newly elected Democrat from Michigan, is a "danger."
Image: Rep. Rashia Tlaib leaves a caucus meeting at the Capitol on Jan. 9, 2019.
Rep. Rashia Tlaib leaves a caucus meeting at the Capitol on Jan. 9, 2019.Alex Wong / Getty Images file

A city commissioner from Florida is facing calls to resign for writing online that newly elected Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is Muslim, was "a danger" and might "blow up Capitol Hill."

The commissioner, Anabelle Lima-Taub, of Hallandale Beach, signed an online petition last week calling for Tlaib's removal, according to a photo of her Facebook post published by The Sun Sentinel.

"Proudly signed," she wrote. "A Hamas loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill."

Her colleagues aren't so proud, though.

Another Hallandale Beach commissioner, Michele Lazarow, said Wednesday that she would sponsor a resolution condemning Lima-Taub's remarks.

"While individual commissioners have spoken out against Commissioner Lima-Taub’s hateful and bigoted remarks, I believe we need to take action as a city," Lazarow wrote in a statement sent to reporters. "We must send a message to our community that this behavior won’t be tolerated."

Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana, who sits on the city commission as well, said Lima-Taub's comments were "evidently racist and the sort of divisive rhetoric we see from President Trump which unfortunately trickles down," in an email to NBC News, suggesting the commissioner apologize and engage with Muslim communities.

"As a Commissioner she was elected to and claims to represent the residents of Hallandale Beach. That means all residents including our Muslim brothers and sisters," she wrote. "If she can not fulfill her promise to serve all with utmost respect then she should resign."

Lima-Taub's online biography says she was born in Israel and was elected to the Hallandale Beach Commission in November 2016, vowing to restore ethics to local government and promote public safety. Her Facebook post has since been removed, and she did not respond to requests for comment.

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for Lima-Taub's resignation.

"CAIR-Florida strongly condemns the disgraceful racist and Islamophobic statements published by Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub," CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo Ruiz said in a statement. "Her un-American, xenophobic statements establish that she is unfit to hold the Commissioner’s seat. She must apologize immediately and follow up that apology with her resignation."

Tlaib, a Democrat, is a Palestinian-American from Michigan who became one of the first two Muslim women in Congress this month.

She condemned Lima-Taub's remarks in a tweet that laid some of the blame with President Donald Trump.

"This sort of hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric doesn't happen in a vacuum — this President embraced it and Republicans have happily gone along with it," she tweeted.

Hours later, in another tweet talking about the shutdown and media coverage, Tlaib wrote: "Yes, I am Muslim and Palestinian. Get over it."

Tlaib's communications director, Denzel McCampbell, also pointed the finger at Trump while commending Lima-Taub's colleagues for speaking out.

"We've seen Muslims degraded just because of their religion from our own President of the United States. It's not right on any level. I commend the Commissioner's colleagues for standing up against hateful rhetoric," he said in a statement. "It is our hope that her community hold her accountable and encourage to accept that our country is made up of all different faiths and ethnicities. It is what makes America unique and special."