Will Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib Be The First Muslim Women in Congress?

Published August 15th, 2018 - 11:14 GMT
Rashida Tlaib (Left), the American-Palestinian Muslim who won Michigan elections last week besides Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American Muslim woman to win in Minnesota (Right). (Twitter/Rashida Tlaib)
Rashida Tlaib (Left), the American-Palestinian Muslim who won Michigan elections last week besides Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American Muslim woman to win in Minnesota (Right). (Twitter/Rashida Tlaib)

By Randa Darwish

In a historic wave of Muslim women running for the Congress primary elections this year, Ilhan Omar was announced winner of the Minnesota Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Ilhan is the first Somali-American legislator elected as a representative of Minnesota state and now she is the first to enter the Congress if she passed November elections, which is guaranteed in Minnesota. It is one of the safe districts for Democrats and has a heavy African-American population.

The win of Ilhan, the 36-year-old Somali refugee who arrived in the US in her childhood, highlights the recent changes seen in the American politics, especially after Trump entered the White House with his zero tolerance policies toward immigrants from many Muslim countries.

 

In fact, Ilhan won’t be the only Muslim woman entering the Congress next January. Last week, former Democratic state representative, Rashida Tlaib, won primary election in Michigan to become the first Palestinian-American and Muslim woman in Congress as well.

Rashida was taking part in Ilhan’s election campaign and congratulated Ilhan on Twitter expressing her pride with their win, and the changes they are making in the US history.

Ilhan was also strongly endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the winner in New York’s district who tweeted earlier urging people to “push her” in the office. Cortez also tweeted congratulating her on Tuesday.

The election results drew mixed reactions among Americans. Many welcomed the win of Ilhan and Rashida.

Yet, critical voices from conservatives and Trump supporters expressed their satisfaction with the changes witnessed in the US in seeing migrants and Muslims are trying to control “their country”.

Supporters of Ilhan went to recall earlier remarks made by Trump on Somali refugees, when he said described them as a “disaster” to Minnesota where they are spreading their “extremist views”. Well, obviously Trump was wrong as Ilhan was chosen by 48% of the state’s population to represent them in the Congress.

The fact that Muslim women like Rashida and Ilhan won elections did not protect them from facing attacks.

The latest was by Laura Loomer, the alt-right journalist provocateur who claim that Ilhan was married to her brother in the past to grant him the US citizenship. Laura attacked a joint campaign event with Rashida and Ilhan. She yelled questions about Hamas and female genital mutilation.

Read More on this:
Will Abdul Sayed Become the First Muslim Governor of Michigan?
Minnesota's First Muslim Legislator is Under Fire for a Gaza War Tweet
Will the Victory of Pro-Palestine Ocasio-Cortez Be a Turning Point for Democrats?


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