Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib made history on Tuesday, becoming the first Muslim woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
In Tuesday’s hard-fought U.S. mid-term elections, Tlaib clinched the seat for Michigan's 13th congressional district after incumbent representative John Conyers stepped down amid sexual harassment allegations.
In the absence of any Republican opponent, Tlaib, 42, managed to defeat both the Green Party’s Etta Wilcoxon and the Working Class Party’s Sam Johnson, reportedly winning 88.7 percent of votes cast.
Tlaib ran as a Democratic candidate, having previously served six years for the party in Michigan’s state legislature.
Turkey congratulates elected Muslim congresswomen in US
Turkey’s foreign minister on Thursday congratulated the two newly elected Muslim congresswomen in the U.S.“Congratulations to Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for being elected to the U.S. Congress. This is a great achievement for Muslim Americans,” Mevlut Cavusoglu posted on Twitter.Minnesota's Omar and Michigan's Tlaib both made history Tuesday by winning their elections and becoming the first Muslim congresswomen to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
The Palestinian-American entered U.S. politics in 2008, when she won a seat for the Democrats in Michigan's State Senate.
In an interview last week with CBS News, Tlaib described the prospect of becoming the first Muslim congresswoman as “changing the course of history”.
She has 14 brothers and sisters, all of whom were born to parents in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, according to statements made on her social media accounts.
She is affiliated with the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, which calls for full health care, a $15 minimum wage, environmental protection and affordable university tuition fees.
Tlaib was one of 100 Muslim Americans who vied for congressional seats in Tuesday’s mid-term polls.
West Bank kin cheer first Palestinian-American woman in US Congress
Tuning into the news at dawn on Wednesday, the extended family of Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress, celebrated her victory in their home in the Israeli occupied West Bank.Tlaib, a Democrat, ran virtually unopposed in Michigan's 13th congressional district, which encompasses southwest Detroit and its suburbs west to the city of Dearborn. She previously served in Michigan's state legislature. She has become "a source of pride for Palestine and the entire Arab and Muslim world," her uncle, Bassam Tlaib, said in the small village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa.With her win, Tlaib, 44, will become the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress. Alongside incoming Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, she will also be one of the first Muslim women to join the congressional ranks.First two Muslim women elected to US Congress"I'm going to speak truth to power," Tlaib told the Detroit Free Press on election night on Tuesday. "I obviously have a set agenda that's not going to be a priority for the current president but that doesn't mean I'm not going to push back."Tlaib's district is home to one of the largest Arab-American populations in the United States. Her win highlights a wave of Palestinian diaspora candidates and activists who have embraced the Democratic Party's progressive wing at a low point in U.S.-Palestinian relations under Republican President Donald Trump.In California's 50th district, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Palestinian-American who spent part of his childhood in Gaza and whose father served in the Palestinian Authority, was in a close race with incumbent Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, early results showed."The success of [Tlaib and Campa-Najjar's] progressive messaging on a wide range of issues, including Palestine, is reflective of a shifting public discourse that Palestine activists have played a role in shaping," said Omar Baddar, deputy director of the Washington-based Arab American Institute.Trump faces a blitz of investigations from Democratic-run HouseCAUTIOUS OPTIMISMUnder Trump, Washington has alienated Palestinians by recognising contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the American embassy there, and by slashing U.S. funding of the U.N. body that aids Palestinians.Palestinians have broken off contact with his administration, which has promised to announce a peace plan soon for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.In the West Bank city of Ramallah and throughout the territory, Palestinians took a cautious view of the election news."Change is incremental, and Palestinians in Palestine are intimately aware of that," said Salem Barahmeh, executive director of the Ramallah-based Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy."That said, Tlaib's election is seen as a glimmer of hope in a very dark chapter in the Palestinian people's history," Barahmeh added.Bassam Tlaib, the candidate's uncle, said she had "stood against Trump" at a time when "even our Arab leaders are unwilling to face (him)."Seven takeaways from the US congressional electionsTrump tastes election defeat but finds some wins at White House watch partyUS: Democrats win House, Republicans keep Senate
First two Muslim women elected to US Congress
Michigan's Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota's Ilhan Omar both made history Tuesday by winning their elections and becoming the first Muslim women to be elected to the U.S. Congress.Tlaib won the congressional seat for Michigan's 13th district after former Representative John Conyers abruptly stepped down following sexual harassment allegations, leaving the seat vacant.The Palestinian-American Muslim ran under the Democratic Party, having previously served six years in the state legislature.West Bank kin cheer first Palestinian-American woman in US CongressWith no Republican opponent, Tlaib defeated Etta Wilcoxon of the Green Party and Sam Johnson of the Working Class Party."Why am I running? Because this is about electing the jury to impeach @POTUS and I will make a heck of juror," Tlaib said in a tweet aimed at U.S. President Donald Trump.Tlaib campaigned on a platform that advocated for a $15 minimum wage, free public college tuition and ending corporate welfare. A proud Palestinian, Tlaib has also been an advocate for Palestinian rights and is an outspoken critic of Trump.Trump faces a blitz of investigations from Democratic-run House"Congratulations to my sister @RashidaTlaib on your victory! I cannot wait to serve with you, inshallah," Omar, who also won her election, said on Twitter.The seat Omar won, Minnesota's 5th district, was formerly held by Rep. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim to take a seat in Congress. Ellison did not run for re-election as he sought the state attorney generalship.Omar, another Democrat, is a Somali-American who came to the U.S. over two decades ago as a refugee. She campaigned on a progressive platform and won the endorsement of the Democratic Party's fledging progressive wing, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.Video: Record number of women elected in US midtermsShe ran against and defeated Republican candidate Jennifer Zielinski, becoming the first congresswoman to wear a hijab.This year, a record 90 Muslims were contesting in the polls since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to Jetpac, an organization that helps Muslims run for political office.Six Muslims ran for political office at the national level. Aga Khan, Omar Qudrat and Mahmoud Mahmoud all ran for a seat in the House of Representatives but fell short of their goals.US: Democrats win House, Republicans keep Senate