Just in case you’ve been living under a rock these past couple of months (we would never judge you for your lifestyle choices), the 2018 US midterm elections were on Tuesday and the results included some serious wins for both Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world.
On Tuesday, Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib and Somali-American Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim women elected to US Congress. Tlaib took Michigan’s 13th congressional district in a race in which she was the sole major party candidate. Omar won Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, replacing the first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, who vacated his seat to run in the state’s attorney general race.
A living embodiment of the American dream, Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents. In 2008, Tlaib made history by winning a seat on the Michigan Legislature, becoming the first Muslim woman to achieve such a victory. Tlaib’s campaign platform included pledges to secure a higher minimum wage, prevent cuts to welfare programmes, as well as stopping tax relief to large corporations. After securing her primary win in August, Tlaib vowed to “fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled.”
Omar, who arrived in the US at the age of 14 after fleeing civil war in Somalia, also campaigned on a progressive platform, which advocated for universal healthcare and tuition-free colleges.
Congratulations to my sister @RashidaTlaib on your victory!
I cannot wait to serve with you, inshallah. ??
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 7, 2018
Despite the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric used in American media, the pair’s election to the US House of Representatives symbolises more than just a glimmer of hope for Muslims.
We’ll leave you on a high note and include some choice words extracted from Ilhan Omar’s victory speech:
“I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with many firsts behind my name. The first woman of colour to represent our state in Congress, the first woman to wear a hijab, the first refugee ever elected to Congress and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Here in Minnesota we don’t only welcome immigrants, we send them to Washington.”