Two Democrats are poised to become the first Muslim women in Congress, offering a sharp counterpoint to the anti-Muslim policies and sentiment surfacing in Washington and across the country.
Tlaib, a Detroit native and daughter of Palestinian immigrants, narrowly won her primary race to succeed long time Representative John Conyers, who resigned last year after sexual harassment allegations. In her Michigan District, less than 5 percent of the population identifies as Arab American.
Tlaib and Omar both championed progressive policies in their respective Districts, including Medicare for All, a $ 15 minimum wage, and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Their victory speeches and watch parties were emotional. Supporters who came out included many immigrants, who in the wake of the victories celebrated American democracy despite an administration that has been particularly hostile to their communities.
“I will fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled,” Tlaib declared in her victory speech in a room largely filled with Arab-American immigrants. “You deserve better than what we have today with our president.”
There are two Muslim American men currently serving in the House: Ellison and Andre Carson of Indiana.
Several other Muslim women are running for Congress in districts where primaries have not yet occurred, including Deedra Abboud, who is running for Senate in Arizona, and Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, who is running for a House seat in Massachusetts. Over 90 Muslims have entered races for office this election year, according to Jetpac, a nonprofit that advocates for American Muslims in politics.
“Today is about more than winning, it’s about building a coalition to fight the politics of fear and scarcity. I’m a legislator, a refugee, and a working mom. But above all, I’m an organizer. And I’m ready to organize for the America we deserve,” Omar said in a statement.