Minnesota Dem tells Va.’s Jackson to ‘just deal’ with hijabs
A Virginia pastor and political figure 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, 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,” E.W. Jackson, a socially conservative minister from Chesapeake, said on the show.
Omar offered a response on Friday. “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 U.S. in 2017, accounting for about 1.1 percent of the overall population.
With her victory 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.
“We are a Judeo-Christian country,” Jackson said Wednesday on his radio show. “We are a nation rooted and grounded in Christianity, and that’s that. And anybody that doesn’t like that, go live somewhere else. It’s very simple. Just go live somewhere else. Don’t try to change our country into some sort of Islamic republic or try to base our country on sharia law.”
The proposed amendment, co-authored by Omar, House Minority 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.
Omar, a Somali refugee, made history alongside another Midwest Muslim Democrat, Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Jackson is known for his incendiary remarks about nonChristians and homosexuality on his radio show “The Awakening.” A vocal critic of former President Barack Obama, he lost a three-way race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination won by Corey Stewart this year. Stewart lost to incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine. In 2013, Jackson won the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor but was defeated by then-state Sen. Ralph Northam, now the governor.
In an interview last month, Omar offered an optimistic projection for what her presence and that of Tlaib in Congress means for America.
“In a time where there is a lot of religious bigotry, it’s almost perfect to have this counterbalance. My sister Rashida and I are from the heartland of America,” she said. “To be elected to Congress is a real rejection of that message.”