First Ever Muslim Women Elected to US Congress


On the 6th of November 2018, Americans went out to cast their votes in the US midterm elections. Following a deeply polarising two years of Trump’s first term in power, the midterms have been widely seen as a referendum on the president’s rule.

A wave of Democrat victories was expected and the party managed to gain control of the lower house of Congress, with 27 seats taken from the Republicans according to the latest election results.

The gains mean the Democratic Party can now launch a significant challenge against Trump’s policies which would include blocking his proposed bills from going through the House of Representatives and opening investigations into alleged misconduct.

Congressional elections are held in the US every two years where all the seats in the House of Representatives and one-third in the Senate are up for grabs. In the middle of a president’s term, they are known as midterm elections and are widely regarded as an indicator of how well the president has performed so far.

A diverse group of candidates won seats for the Democrats, including Jared Polis, the first openly gay man to be elected governor. Many women also won seats including the very first Muslim women to become congresswomen.


Running for Michigan’s 17th district, Rashida Tlaib was not only one of two Muslim women to be elected to Congress for the first time, but also the first Palestinian-American to do so.

Self-described as a Democratic-Socialist, she campaigned for healthcare being available for all and a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Credit: AFP

The other Muslim woman was also the first Somali-American congresswoman, former refugee Ilhan Omar, who as a state legislator pushed for subsidising higher education for low-income students and also introduction a $15 minimum wage.

Main image: Jim Mone and Rebecca Cook/AP/REUTERS

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