Hi­jab in the House? ‘Just deal’ with it, Mus­lim tells pas­tor

Houston Chronicle - - NEWSMAKERS -

Con­ser­va­tive pas­tor E.W. Jack­son be­gan his ra­dio pro­gram Wed­nes­day with an out­raged rant about a rule change that con­gres­sional Democrats are propos­ing that would re­verse a head­wear ban on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The change would take ef­fect next year, when Democrats re­sume control of the House and wel­come the most racially di­verse and most fe­male fresh­man class in U.S. his­tory, which in­cludes the first two Mus­lim women to serve in Congress. One of them, Min­nesota Demo­crat Ilhan Omar, wears a hi­jab, a form of head cover­ing.

“The floor of Congress is now go­ing to look like an Is­lamic repub­lic,” Jack­son said on the show.

Fri­day morn­ing, Omar shared a story from The Hill about Jack­son’s re­marks and of­fered a re­sponse of her own.

“Well sir, the floor of Congress is go­ing to look like Amer­ica,” she wrote. “And you’re gonna have to just deal.”

The Pew Re­search Cen­ter es­ti­mates that there were 3.45 mil­lion Mus­lim Amer­i­cans liv­ing in the United States in 2017, ac­count­ing for about 1.1 per­cent of the over­all pop­u­la­tion. By 2040, the cen­ter projects that Mus­lims will re­place Jews as the coun­try’s sec­ond-largest re­li­gious group af­ter Chris­tians.

Min­nesota’s 5th Dis­trict, where Omar won in Novem­ber, is the most di­verse in the state. Thirty-six per­cent of the res­i­dents there are peo­ple of color, and the dis­trict has the sixth-high­est per­cent­age of mil­len­nial vot­ers of all 435 House dis­tricts, ac­cord­ing to re­port­ing from MPR News. With her vic­tory there last month, Omar claimed mul­ti­ple “first” ti­tles: the first woman of color to rep­re­sent Min­nesota in Congress; and the first Mus­lim refugee, first So­mali Amer­i­can and first hi­jab-wear­ing Mus­lim woman to be elected to Congress.

“When peo­ple were sell­ing the pol­i­tics of fear and divi­sion and de­struc­tion, we were talk­ing about hope,” she said dur­ing her vic­tory speech. “We were talk­ing about the pol­i­tics of joy.”

On Jack­son’s ra­dio show Wed­nes­day, there was no joy in his screed about Omar’s hi­jab.

“We are a Judeo-Chris­tian coun­try,” he said. “We are a na­tion rooted and grounded in Chris­tian­ity, and that’s that.”

The pro­posed amend­ment, co-au­thored by Omar, House Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rules Com­mit­tee top Demo­crat Jim McGovern of Mas­sachusetts, is not about sharia law. Rather, it would re­verse a House rule that has been on the books since 1837, writ­ten 80 years be­fore the first woman would serve in Congress and 181 years be­fore the first two Mus­lim women would be elected to the House.


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