First two Muslim women elected to US Congress: networks

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar

A Somali-American refugee from Minnesota and a Palestinian-American activist from MI made history on Tuesday as the first two Muslim women elected to the United States House of Representatives.

Ilhan Omar, candidate for State Representative for District 60B in Minnesota, gives an acceptance speech on election night, November 8, 2016, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Minnesota's first Somali-American state representative has made history: She is now the country's first Somali-American elected to Congress.

"I did not expect to come to the United States and go to school with kids who were anxious about food as much as I was anxious about it in a refugee camp", Omar said in an interview last month.

Tlaib 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. She spent four years of her childhood in a refugee camp in Kenya.

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Omar will also be the first Congress member to wear a Muslim hijab, or head scarf. She immigrated to the United States at age 12 and served as a Minneapolis City Council policy aide before winning election to the Legislature in 2016. She will succeed the first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, who vacated the seat to run in Minnesota's attorney general race.

The vast majority, 187, of those were running as Democrats.

Her parents were Palestinian immigrants from the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Who are Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar?

A total of 239 women were on the ballot for the midterms. "Yes, we marched outside the Capitol, but now we get to march into the Capitol", she wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

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