Muftia Tlaib is Rashida Tlaib’s grandmother. The elderly woman lives in a small town called Beit Ur al-Fauqa, according to The Washington Post, which is 15 miles outside of Jerusalem and located in Israeli-occupied West Bank. She entered the news when Israel announced it would not allow Tlaib and fellow Congresswoman Ilhan Omar into the country for their planned visit.
Muftia, who says she is between 85 and 90 years old, said to The Washington Post following the news of her granddaughter’s ban, “She’s in a big position, and she cannot visit her grandmother. So what good is the position?”
Depending on the publication, Muftia’s first name is also written as “Muftiyah” and “Muftiah.” Here’s what you need to know about Muftia Tlaib, Rashida Tlaib’s grandmother:
1. Muftia Tlaib Said of Trump to Reuters: ‘May God Ruin Him’
In an interview with Reuters on August 16, Muftia Tlaib acknowledged the politics in the country where her granddaughter lives, saying of President Donald Trump, “Trump tells me I should be happy Rashida is not coming. May God ruin him.”
Muftia was referencing a tweet by Trump that read, “Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!”
Muftia noted that she was still optimistic her granddaughter would visit soon. She said, “My heart tells me that she will come.”
2. Muftia Tlaib Is Palestinian & Lives on the West Bank
Muftia Tlaib, a Palestinian, lives on the West Bank. Specifically, she lives in the village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa.
Per The Washington Post, Muftia lives in a limestone house, and has lived in that same house since she moved to the village in 1974. The Tlaib land extends far and includes olive groves and fig trees, Muftia told The Post, but the construction of a major highway across their land has made it difficult to walk across.
Muftia said to the publication, “It’s hard for me to reach my land on the other side. I used to cross by walking, but once a woman was hit by a car.”
3. Israel Granted Tlaib a One-Day Visit to Her Family, but Tlaib Refused
Though Israel did eventually offer Tlaib a one-day visit to see her family, she refused the offer, calling it an insult.
Tlaib gave the following Twitter statement on August 16 (along with a picture of Muftia), explaining why she wouldn’t accept the offer for a one day visit. The statement reads,
“When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions. I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies. Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”
4. Tlaib’s Uncle, Bassam Tlaib, Says Muftia Is a ‘Second Mother’ to the Congresswoman
To Reuters, Bassam Tlaib, Tlaib’s uncle, described Muftia as a “second mother” to Tlaib. He explained, “Rashida sees her granny as a second mother, she has always supported her. Rashida says she owes her success to her grandmother.”
Bassam further stated that Muftia and Tlaib had not seen one another since 2006. He added, “She was going to slaughter a sheep when Rashida arrived and prepare her favorite food, stuffed vine leave.”
Muftia said of her granddaughter to The Washington Post, “I am proud of her. Who wouldn’t be proud of a granddaughter like that? I love her and am so proud of her.”
5. Rashida Tlaib Often Posts About Her Family to Social Media
Tlaib frequently posts about her family on social media, both those living on the West Bank and those in the United States.
In a tweet on August 15, Tlaib wrote, “This woman right here is my sity. She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity. I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening.”
And in an Instagram post to her grandmother, Tlaib wrote, “Habibty sity. I won’t stop fighting for you and other Palestinans to live with human dignity and truly be free.”