First two Muslim women sworn into US Congress

Rashida Talib, Ilhan Omer blaze a trail first Muslim women ever elected to US House of Representatives

Reuters/afp January 04, 2019
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) poses for photographs with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and her family in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol January 03, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

Palestenian-American lawyer Rashida Tlaib along with Somalian immigrant Ilhan Omer made history today as the first two Muslim women ever elected to the US House of Representatives.

"The months ahead will be difficult. There will be attacks against me because of how I look, my religious beliefs, and because I use my voice to call out injustice. There will be those who say a woman should know her place, those who say I’m too outspoken. But we know that times like these call for courage, moral clarity, and bold action. Today, we begin that work, together," Ilhan Omar said in an Instagram post.

Congress on Wednesday boasted one of the most diverse set of representatives to have ever been sworn in. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman to hold the coveted position. The House also saw a record number of African-Americans and women being elected to office.

"Whenever Congress looks like America, it performs better," a beaming two-term Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, himself an immigrant from India, told AFP.

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434 new lawmakers were sworn in to the House, with one seat still disputed. The atmosphere in Capitol Hill was boisterous as the lawmakers’ families and children crowded the House floor.

Democrats celebrated House majority and hailed Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker for the most diverse House of Representatives ever seen. The first two Native American women ever elected into Congress embraced each other on the occasion of their shared victory.

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“Building an economy that gives all Americans the tools they need to succeed in the 21st Century: public education, workforce development, good-paying jobs and secure pensions,” Pelosi said of her aims.

“Standing on the shoulders of the women who marched 100 years ago to give me the right to vote, I cast my vote for Nancy Pelosi,” Representative Brenda Lawrence declared on the floor.

Democrat Eric Swalwell held his nine-week old infant daughter and quipped, "Her first words were Nancy Pelosi. It was amazing!"


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