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Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are the First Muslim Women in US Congress

After winning their races in Michigan and Minnesota respectively, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have made history as the first Muslim women elected in US Congress.

Tlaib, who ran as a Democrat, will fill the seat formerly occupied by Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who left office last year. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib ran unopposed on the general election ballot following her primary win. Tlaib, who served in Michigan’s state legislature from 2009 to 2014 before working as an attorney, is also known for disrupting a speech given by then-presidential nominee Donald Trump two years ago.

Meanwhile, Omar ran as her state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s nominee. The 35-year-old candidate will secure the seat vacated by Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who became the first Muslim elected to the United States House of Representatives. The Somali-born Democrat, who grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp before fleeing to America aged 12, also made history as the first African refugee and hijab-wearing woman to serve in Congress.

Both Omar and Tlaib ran progressive platforms in their primary races, including access to affordable housing and health care for all, a US $15 minimum wage, increasing the number of refugees admitted to the United States, and the abolishment of ICE, to become the Democratic nominee.

Indeed, Tuesday’s congressional midterm races were triumphant for many progressional women of color hoping to join the ranks of the US Congress for the first time. In addition to Tlaib and Omar’s victories, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made history as the youngest woman ever elected into congress at 29 years old. Meanwhile, in Kansas, Sharice Davids will be one of the state’s first Native American woman to take a House seat, a distinction she shares with Deb Haaland, who is the former chair of the New Mexico state Democratic Party.

Congratulations to the candidates!

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