Ilhan Omar & Rashida Tlaib First Muslim Women Elected to US Congress

Chicago: Voters in Minnesota and Michigan elected the first two Muslim women to serve in the US Congress recently, a former refugee who fled Somalia’s civil war and a Detroit-born Palestinian-American. The victories by the two Democrats — Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, came on an election night when members of multiple minority groups had a chance to score electoral firsts. In Florida, Lebanese-American Donna Shalala is starting a third career with her election to the House, after serving in President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet and running major universities. In Minnesota, Omar, about 36 and a naturalized American citizen and state representative, follows another trailblazer: She will succeed US Congressman Keith Ellison, who in 2006 became the first Muslim elected to Congress and is stepping down to run for state attorney general. Tlaib, 42, also has a history of breaking barriers: In 2008 she became the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature. The oldest of 14 children, Tlaib was born to a family of Palestinian immigrants in Detroit, where her father worked at a Ford Motor Co. plant.

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