Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Rashida Tlaib is first Muslim woman elected to U.S. Congress

Rashida Tlaib is first Muslim woman elected to U.S. Congress

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.

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.

The 42-year-old Tlaib is a Palestinian-American. After moving to the the of 12 as a Somali refugee, Omar told TIME she grew a love for politics that was inspired by her grandfather, who loved the idea of democratic governments.

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have become the first Muslim women elected to Congress after both Democrats won their congressional midterm 2018 races.

Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar is seen after voting during midterm election in Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 6, 2018. First Somali-American Muslim legislator elected to office in the United States.

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

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"I chose to run because I was one of many people I knew who really wanted to demonstrate what representative democracies are supposed to be", she said.

Omar will also be the first Congress member to wear a Muslim hijab, or head scarf.

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.

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

There was no Republican on the ballot in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.

Omar said President Trump's "politics of fear" motivated her to get in the race. That may force her to resign from Detroit City Council to do so.

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