First Muslim women elected to US Congress

Both Muslim-American ran on progressive Democratic platforms.
Wednesday 07/11/2018
Democratic US congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib reacts after appearing at her midterm election night party in Detroit, Michigan, on November 6. (Reuters)
Democratic US congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib reacts after appearing at her midterm election night party in Detroit, Michigan, on November 6. (Reuters)

WASHINGTON - Two Muslim women won election to the US House of Representatives. 

Over a dozen Arab-American men – all Christians – have served in Congress over the past several decades and two Muslim-American men – both African-Americans – have been elected. 

However, the election on November 6 of Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota is a first in American history.

Tlaib, a Palestinian-American Democrat whose parents immigrated to the United States, won easily in a district that includes parts of Detroit, Michigan’s largest city. 

Omar, a Somali-American Democrat who came to the United States twenty years ago as a refugee, won the district that formerly was held by Keith Ellison, an African-American who was the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. 

Omar’s district includes Minneapolis, the state’s largest city. Ellison stepped down from the seat in order to run for Attorney General of Minnesota, a race who was leading by a narrow margin.

Both Tlaib and Omar ran on progressive Democratic platforms that focused on health care, gun control and more lenient immigration policies. Omar has openly criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. 

The two women campaigned together earlier this year.