First Muslim woman elected to House of Representatives

Cheryl Sanders
November 9, 2018

Americans for the first time sent a Muslim woman to Congress - actually two: Palestinian American Rashida Tlaib, of MI, and Somali American Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota.

The Palestinian-American Muslim ran under the Democratic Party, having previously served six years in the state legislature.

Democrats Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of MI will be the first Muslim women to serve in Congress after winning in Tuesdays midterm elections. Born in Mogadishu and came to the U.S. in 1995 at 14-years-old.

In an interview with Elle magazine in September this year, Ms Omar opened up about her Somalia background and shared what it was like to arrive in the USA for the first time as a child of 10. "I can not wait to serve with you, inshallah", Omar, who also won her election, said on Twitter.

She added: "I think people don't realise just how much of a roller-coaster it is and its happy chaos right now".

This is the first time that Muslim women have been elected to the House.

The victories by the two Democrats - Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib - came on an election night when members of multiple minority groups had a chance to score electoral firsts. She ran unopposed in a congressional district that stretches from Detroit to Dearborn, Michigan. In 2016, she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, which made her the first Somali American in history to be elected legislator in the United States.

Among those elected was Somali-American, Ilhan Omar, who easily won the election in Minnesota district.

Omar, 36, fled her homeland of Somalia at the age of eight and lived in a Kenyan refugee camp before immigrating with family to the United States.

Her campaign platform included pledges to secure a $15 (KSh 1,528) minimum wage, preventing cuts to welfare programmes, as well as stopping tax relief to large corporations.

Researchers found that people identifying as Republicans were most likely to hold negative ideas about Islam and Muslims.

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