Rashida Tlaib becomes first Muslim Congresswoman: Ilhan Omar set to follow


Voters in Minnesota and MI this morning elected the first two Muslim women to serve in the US Congress, a former refugee who fled Somalia's civil war and a Detroit-born Palestinian-American.

Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar reacts after appearing at her midterm election night party in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Nov. 6, 2018.

The seat Omar won, Minnesota's 5th district, was formerly held by Rep. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim to take a seat in Congress. Ellison did not run for re-election as he sought the state attorney generalship. Omar says one of her priorities is to continue to stand against President Donald Trump's immigration policies. She came to the USA more than two decades ago as a refugee.

The 2018 US 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. After the start of the civil war in 1991, she and her family fled Somalia and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

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Omar made history in 2016 when she was elected the first Somali-American legislator in the USA, for which she was featured in Firsts, TIME's multimedia project on trailblazing women have broken glass ceilings in their respective fields.

Born in Detroit to Palestinian-American parents, Tlaib served in Michigan's state legislature from 2008 to 2014.

For Tlaib, Tuesday's election marks the second time she will have made history in recent years.

With no Republican challenger in the race, Tlaib's election on Tuesday became a formality.

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Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib was another Muslim woman elected to the US Congress.

Tlaib has advocated for universal health care, a $15 national minimum wage, union protections, and tuition-free college education.

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. Tlaib said at a summit celebrating women of color in politics. "And that if you just believe, believe in the possibility of someone like me".

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