First female Muslim members of Congress
Ilhan Omar, 36, will be the first Somali-American and hijabwearing member of Congress. She won a House seat in a strongly Democratic district in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding Keith Ellison who was himself the first Muslim ever elected to Congress.
“I’m Muslim and black,” Ilhan said in a recent magazine interview. “I decided to run because I was one of many people I knew who really wanted to demonstrate what representative democracies are supposed to be.”
Ilhan fled Somalia’s civil war with her parents at the age of eight and spent four years at a refugee camp in Kenya.
Her family settled in Minnesota in 1997, where there is a sizable Somali population.
She won a seat in the state’s legislature in 2016, becoming the first Somali-American lawmaker in the country.
Before that, she had worked as a community organiser, a policy wonk for city leaders in Minneapolis, and as a leader in her local chapter of the NAACP – the African-American civil rights group.
Rashida Tlaib, 42, is a Detroitborn daughter of Palestinian immigrants, the eldest of 14 children.
A fighter who once heckled US President Donald Trump during a 2016 campaign stop in Detroit, she said she didn’t run to make history as Muslim.
“I ran because of injustices and because of my boys, who are questioning their (Muslim) identity and whether they belong,” Tlaib said in an US television interview in August.
“I’ve never been one to stand on the sidelines.”
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar