Republican politician claims flying the trans flag is a ‘rainbow jihad’, clearly not knowing what ‘jihad’ means
Republicans in Iowa are attempting to ban the flying of the transgender flag, after one politician likened flying the flag to jihad.
The pink, blue and white trans flag was flown over the Capitol building in Des Moines on 20 November to mark International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
TDOR is observed annually to honour and remember the members of the trans community lost to transphobic violence around the world.
Skyler Wheeler, a state senator who represents Iowa’s 4th district, took issue with the trans flag being flown in Des Moines and told local news that he was upset no one had informed him the flag was going to be flown.
“I found out the same time as most Iowans,” the conservative lawmaker said. “Nothing was sent to my legislative email, no phone call, absolutely nothing.”
He added: “It’s another way that the Rainbow Jihad continues to give those of us who don’t agree with them a finger in the eye and push their beliefs on us.”
Jihad is an Arabic word that literally means striving or struggling. It is often interpreted in a Western context to mean war or acts of terrorism.
“Flags flown at our state Capitol should not be flags that fuel division among Iowans,” Wheeler said. “How would the Rainbow Jihad react if we were trying to fly the Christian flag over the state Capitol? The Rainbow Jihad is not OK with simply living their lives. They are so hellbent on pushing their beliefs on us that they would go so far as to fly that flag over the state Capitol. It’s one of the most egregious acts of political aggression I’ve ever seen.”
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Another Republican, Dean Fisher, said he plans to put forward a bill next session to limit which flags can be flown at the Capitol – a move that will prevent the trans flag from being flown.
“I’d sure like to know the history of who else has been able to fly their flag over the Capitol, but I think it’s kind of disappointing that we’re doing it,” Fisher said. “I’m preparing a bill to specify that, as far as the official flag poles, it would only be the United States and Iowa flags, and we’ll see where that goes.”
“I don’t think it ought to be any group that wants to,” Fisher added.
Fisher said he had also not been made aware in advance that the trans flag would be flown.
“I thought it was ridiculous,” he said. “My question is, why are we doing that? Why is it anything but the United States flag or the Iowa flag? We’ll head down the path and see where we can get. I guess the question is, can I fly the Christian flag over it? Do I think that’s right? Well, not necessarily. Yeah, I’m solidly a Christian, but should I be flying my flag over somebody else’s instead of the Iowa flag or the United States flag?”