Rashida Tlaib: First Palestinian-American woman in US Congress

Democratic US congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib celebrates with her mother and brother at her midterm election night party in Detroit Michigan

Democratic US congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib celebrates with her mother and brother at her midterm election night party in Detroit Michigan

Although Muslim men have been elected to Congress before, Ilhan and Rashida are the first Muslim women to represent Americans in the US House of Representatives.

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. Omar, a refugee from Somalia, is the first Somali-American Muslim woman to hold public office.

Omar was leading with more than 80% of the vote when the Associated Press called the race for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District at 8:33 p.m.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported a 21 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the first six months of 2018. Jones, in turn, had won a separate primary to fill the term of John Conyers, who resigned last December after multiple charges of sexual harassment. After fleeing the country's civil war, she spent four years in a refugee camp before coming to the USA when she was 14. Tlaib won that race. She campaigned on a progressive platform and won the endorsement of the Democratic Party's fledging progressive wing, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The 42-year-old was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents.

In addition to being one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American woman to join congressional ranks.

Both women have served as state lawmakers.

She has become "a source of pride for Palestine and the entire Arab and Muslim world", her uncle Bassam Tlaib told Reuters on Tuesday.

She said although her disdain for President Donald Trump's policies on immigration, health care and other issues motivated her to run, that was not the only reason.

No Republicans were on the ballot in the heavily Democratic district, which represents parts of Detroit and some suburbs.

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