Historic vote for Muslim women in U.S. elections

Leroy Wright
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.

Omar, 37, made history in 2017 as the first female Muslim and first Somali-American legislator in the US when she was sworn in as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

"I did not expect to come to the United States and go to school with kids who were anxious about food as much as I was anxious about it in a refugee camp", Omar said in an interview last month.

The seat had been held by Keith Ellison, who left it to run for state attorney general.

Two Muslim women have been elected to the House of Representatives for the first time.

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

Omar was declared the victor in Minnesota's left-learning Fifth Congressional District - which includes Minneapolis and its suburbs, and has elected Democrats since 1960. "And that if you just believe, believe in the possibility of someone like me".

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Ilhan Omar in an October file photo.

"We did this, together", she wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.

The area Omar will represent "has changed so drastically in the last 30 years that you know she clearly reflects a voice and a sentiment for the community", Harris said. "But really I am not going from a first to another first", Omar said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The two women made history as incoming election results showed that the pair had been chosen to represent Michigan's 13th district and Minnesota's 5th district respectively. She campaigned in favor of single-payer health care, tighter gun control and more inclusive immigration policies.

Rashida Tlaib is the Detroit-born daughter of Palestinian immigrants -the eldest of 14 children.

PHOTO: Ilhan Omar discusses her recent election win on 'The View, ' Nov. 7, 2018.

One other Palestinian-American was on the ballot on Tuesday: Ammar Campa-Najjar, the grandson of a Palestinian terrorist who was Yasser Arafat's deputy and was involved in the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, lost in California's 50th congressional district.

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