Thursday, 21 February, 2019

First Muslim women elected to US Congress

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are set to become the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are set to become the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress
Patty Aguilar | 07 November, 2018, 09:53

The 2018 USA midterms, widely billed as a referendum on the presidency of Donald Trump, saw voters make history by electing Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar on the Democratic ballots as part of the wave of opposition that saw huge numbers of women running for public office.

She shared: "We changed the course of history at a time we thought it was impossible".

Technically, Palestinian-American Rashida Harbi Tlaib is the first American Muslim woman to be elected to Congress.

She spent four years in a refugee camp before coming to the United States at age 12. She has captured national attention because of her life story as a refugee who made her way into elected office.

Omar, in addition to being one of the first Muslim women in Congress, will also be the first Somali-American member.

The district sending Omar to Washington is considered a very safe seat for the Democrats; it was recently vacated by high-profile Rep. Keith Ellison. That may force her to resign from Detroit City Council to do so.

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US Muslim civil rights groups say a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric comes from the media, as well as the country's political establishment. I will be using my position in Congress so that no country, not one, should be able to get aid from the U.S. when they still promote that kind of injustice.

Tlaib's win comes after the 2016 election of Trump spurred a record number of women to put their names on the ballot.

Tlaib, 42, also has a history of breaking barriers: In 2008 she became the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature.

The seat she won is in a predominantly African American congressional district with few Muslim voters.

While Omar campaigned on a similarly progressive platform, which calls for universal healthcare and tuition-free colleges. During her tearful primary election victory speech in August, with her immigrant mother by her side, she said relatives in the West Bank were watching her success. She also has been mindful of the historic nature of her candidacy.

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