Omar, Tlaib Become First Muslim Women in US Congress

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar

When the new Congress convenes in January 2019, for the first time it will have at least one Muslim woman among its ranks.

She also recognized Michigan's Rashida Tlaib who is also Muslim for winning.

The seat had been held by Keith Ellison, who left it to run for state attorney general.

She said her political life began attending local Democratic Farmer Labor party caucuses with her grandfather after arriving in the US.

Omar, another Democrat, is a Somali-American who came to the US over two decades ago as a refugee.

Democratic U.S. congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib celebrates with her mother at her midterm election night party in Detroit, Michigan, Nov. 6, 2018. After the start of the civil war in 1991, she and her family fled Somalia and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

On January 1, 2009, Rashida became the first Muslim American woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature, and the second Muslim woman in history to be elected to any U.S. state legislature.

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She has stated that President Donald Trump's "politics of fear" motivated her to run for the seat.

Tlaib is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and became the first Muslim female member of Michigan's state legislature a decade ago.

What is already the most diverse Congress ever could become even more so after Tuesday's elections and will include several trailblazers.

She is expected to share the honour with Somali-American Ilhan Omar, who was leading the opinion polls in Minnesota.

The seat she won is in a predominantly African-American congressional district with few Muslim voters.

Tlaib's win comes after the 2016 election of Trump spurred a record number of women to put their names on the ballot.

Omar campaigned on a similarly progressive platform, which calls for universal healthcare and tuition-free colleges. She could not speak English and only learnt by watching television.

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