Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Former refugee in Kenya Ilhan Omar elected to US Congress

Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar is seen after voting during midterm election in Minneapolis Minnesota Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar is seen after voting during midterm election in Minneapolis Minnesota
Melinda Barton | 07 November, 2018, 09:55

The 2018 US midterms, widely billed as a referendum on the presidency of Donald Trump, saw voters make history by electing Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar on the Democratic ballots as part of the wave of opposition that saw huge numbers of women running for public office.

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

American voters have made history by sending two Muslim women to Congress for the first time.

Jones won the Democratic primary special election to finish the rest of Conyers' term, but lost the race for the 13th District full two-year term by about 900 votes.

Since leaving the Legislature, Tlaib has worked as an attorney for the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice.

"The first woman of color 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". In 2016, she was elected a Democratic Party member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, making her the first Somali-American legislator elected to a public office in the United States.

Congressman Andre Carson, who is Muslim and African American, won re-election in his safely-Democratic district in the state of Indiana.

"I ran because of injustices and because of my boys, who are questioning their (Muslim) identity and whether they belong", Tlaib said in an U.S. television interview in August.

Omar, 36, fled her homeland of Somalia at the age of eight and lived in a Kenyan refugee camp before immigrating with family to the United States.

Omar campaigned on a similarly progressive platform, which calls for universal healthcare and tuition-free colleges.

She also faced Islamophobic attacks during her campaign from some conservative media outlets. During her tearful primary election victory speech in August, with her immigrant mother by her side, she said relatives in the West Bank were watching her success.