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For first time ever, two Muslim women secure seats in US Congress

For first time ever, two Muslim women secure seats in US Congress

Tlaib ran unopposed in a congressional district stretching from Detroit to Dearborn, Michigan. Omar, on the other hand, won a House of Representatives seat in a strongly Democratic district in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rashida Tlaib (L) and Ilhan Omar (R) are Democrats from Midwest and first Muslim women to enter US Congress. Rashida Tlaib (L) and Ilhan Omar (R) are Democrats from Midwest and first Muslim women to enter US Congress.

For the first time ever, two Muslim women have been elected for the US Congress as the results for the mid-term elections in United States were declared on Wednesday. Democrats Ilhan Omar, 37, and Rashida Tlaib, 42, hail from Midwest and have become the first Muslim women to secure seats in the US Congress.

Tlaib ran unopposed in a congressional district stretching from Detroit to Dearborn, Michigan. Omar, on the other hand, won a House of Representatives seat in a strongly Democratic district in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She will succeed Keith Ellison who himself was the first ever Muslim to be elected to the US Congress.

While Omar is a Somali refugee, Tlaib is a daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Both of them are are strong advocates of minority communities that have been at the receiving end of several policies undertaken by the Trump administration targeting immigrants.

Ilhan Omar fled a war-torn Somalia with her parents when she was eight years old. After spending four years at a refugee camp in Kenya, her family settled in Minnesota in 1997, where there is a sizable Somali population. She won a seat in the state's legislature in 2016, becoming the first Somali-American lawmaker in the country. She decided to run for Congress after Ellison decided to give up his seat after 12 years in Congress to run for attorney general of Minnesota.

Omar is a firm supporter of free college education, housing for all, an universal healthcare system and criminal justice reforms, an AFP report said. She is against the anti-immigration policies enacted by President Donald Trump and also wants to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the report further added.

Rashida Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents and is the eldest among 14 children. She became the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan state legislature in 2008. In August, she emerged as the winner of a Democratic primary for a seat vacated by John Conyers, who stepped down in December amid sexual harassment allegations and failing health. With no Republican challenger against her, Tlaib's won the election on Tuesday unopposed.

Tlaib has advocated for universal health care, a $15 national minimum wage, union protections, and tuition-free college education, the AFP report said.

Edited by Vivek Punj