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World

Web Desk
November 7, 2018
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Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar: First two Muslim women elected to US Congress

World

Web Desk
Wed, Nov, 18

CHICAGO: US voters elected two Muslim women, both Democrats, to Congress on Tuesday, marking a historic first in a country where anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise, American networks reported.

Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress.

Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, became the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.

A 42-year-old Michigan Democrat ran unopposed in Michigan’s 13th district House race, but fended off a last-minute write-in challenge from a woman she defeated in the August primary.

Talking to media outlet, Rashida Tlaib said : "The first thing I think about when somebody says you’re going to be the first Muslim is celebrate this moment."

She shared: "We changed the course of history at a time we thought it was impossible. And that if you just believe in the possibility of someone like me," Talib added.

The attorney and former state legislator is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. She won the Democrat primary for the seat in August with around a third of the total vote share.

She is likely to be joined by 36-year-old Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a Muslim woman who is expected to also win her race on Tuesday night.

Who is  Rashida Tlaib?

Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents.

The Palestinian-American  made history in 2008 by winning a seat on the Michigan Legislature, becoming the first Muslim woman to achieve this.

During her her campaign she pledged to secure a $15 minimum wage, stopping cuts to welfare programmes, such as Medicare and Social Security, as well as preventing tax relief to large corporations.

Who is Ilhan Omar?

Omar arrived in the US, aged 14, after fleeing civil war in Somalia. She will succeed the first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, who vacated the seat to run for Minnesota's Attorney General.

While Omar campaigned on a similarly progressive platform, which calls for universal healthcare and tuition-free colleges.

She said her political life began attending local Democratic Farmer Labor party caucuses with her grandfather after arriving in the US.

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