A former Daadab refugee, Ilhan Omar has become the first Somali woman to be elected to the US Congress and only the second Muslim to win a congress seat.
The Democrat lived in the Kenyan refugee camp till the age of 12 when she moved to the US. She could not speak English and only learnt by watching television.
Omar will fill the seat of Rep. Keith Ellison (D), who is running for the state attorney general and is also a Muslim.
She has stated that President Donald Trump’s “politics of fear” motivated her to run for the seat. Giving her acceptance speech, she thanked the people of Minnesota for welcoming her.
“I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with many firsts behind my name,” she said amid cheers.
“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.”
She also recognized Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib who is also Muslim for winning.
Congratulations to my sister @RashidaTlaib on your victory!
I cannot wait to serve with you, inshallah. 🙏🏾
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 7, 2018
Congress member-elect Ilhan Omar’s first words upon taking the stage: asalamu alaikum. The next words: al hamdulillah. “My grandfather taught me that when you see injustice, you fight back. You do not give in to sorrow, you do not give in to sadness. You organize.” pic.twitter.com/vyuYOKeC0r
— Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) November 7, 2018
Tlaib, Omar join other women of colour who won big on Tuesday night; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to Congress, and Ayanna Pressley became the first black congresswoman in Massachusetts.
“Alexandria, Ilhan, Ayanna. I love these names!” Tlaib said at a summit celebrating women of color in politics. “Yes, you’re going to have to learn how to say our names,” she is quoted by HuffPost.
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