Americans Outraged by Ilhan Omar Change of Headwear Law in Congress

Published November 21st, 2018 - 12:19 GMT
Omar, who is expected to swear into office in January 2019, is facing a 181-year-old law-imposed in 1837, that bans hats or any headwear in the House Chamber of the Capitol. (Photo Credit: Twitter/@IlhanMN)
Omar, who is expected to swear into office in January 2019, is facing a 181-year-old law-imposed in 1837, that bans hats or any headwear in the House Chamber of the Capitol. (Photo Credit: Twitter/@IlhanMN)

By Randa Darwish

Controversy is still swirling around the historical US midterm elections with native American winners, immigrants, blacks, gays and Muslims. The latest story has featured Ilhan Omar, who became the first Somali, immigrant and Muslim hijabi woman elected to Congress.

Omar, who is expected to be sworn into office in January 2019, is facing a 181-year-old law-imposed in 1837, that bans hats or any headwear in the House Chamber of the Capitol.

Therefore, Omar with the help of  the Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the Incoming Rules Chairman Jim McGovern has proposed a new amendment that will allow religious headwear into the Congress; including hijab or kippah, to become the first congresswoman to wear a religious headscarf in the US.

Omar’s challenge to the outdated rule hats rule had sparked massive debate among Americans which led her to tweet about it.

Omar highlighted that wearing hijab was her choice with no obligation on others, and is protected by the first amendment of the US Constitution.

The story led many Americans to explode in anger, expressing racist and Islamophobic thoughts. Some were irritated about the idea that Muslims are becoming lawmakers in US.

Others suggested that whoever comes to the US should stick to the US laws, not impose their laws and customs.

Meanwhile, White House advisor Ivanka Trump tweeted in support of the law change, prompting more controversy on the issue.

While others stood firm on the concept of separating Church and State that has been applied in US, they overlooked the fact that the law also should store the freedom of religion and practice.

Others argued that people in the US should stick to the US laws as Americans stick to the rules of some Muslims countries where they are forced to cover their heads - referring to Iran and Saudi Arabia as oppressive countries.

On the other hand, many supported Ilhan Omar and saw the move as positive.

The change will also allow other women to wear their yarmulkes as well.

This is not the first time in which women elected to Congress demanded a change of this law. In 2010, Florida Democrat Frederica Wilson tried to fight hats ban, where she can be allowed to wear colorful and sequined cowboy hats during serving at the house.

Will Ilhan Omar succeed in changing the two-centuries-old law in the US?

 

Read More: On the Politics and Policy of Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar


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