Two Muslim women made history Tuesday night as Minnesotans became the first Americans to choose a hijab-wearing Muslim woman as their nominees for a seat in Congress – and in the state legislature.
Ilhan Omar and Hodan Hassan, both Somali-Americans, became the latest in a wave of charismatic, progressive women, to be elected this primary season.
This means this fall election alone could put as many Muslims in Congress as Americans have elected in the past 12 years. And it is worth reflecting on that a single primary election brought us more female Muslim representation in politics than the rest of American history put together.
Omar and Hassan’s victories come on the heels of Rashida Tlaib’s congressional primary win in Michigan. No Republican is currently running in her district, which means the Palestinian-American will likely become the first Muslim woman elected to United States Congress in November.
Hodan Hassan was also chosen by Democrats to run for a spot in the Minnesota state legislature, and if elected, she will follow in the footsteps of Omar, who blazed the trail only two years ago in the same election that made Donald Trump president.
Ilhan Omar was selected Tuesday to represent Democrats in the race for Minnesota’s left-leaning fifth congressional district, after Congressman Keith Ellison announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking reelection, and instead would be running for Minnesota attorney general.
Omar will be battling Republican Jennifer Zielinski this fall for Keith Ellison’s congressional seat, after the six-term congressman announced he wouldn’t be seeking reelection, and instead turn his eyes toward becoming Minnesota’s attorney general.
Keith Ellison became the first Muslim to be elected to Congress in 2006, and he’s held his seat ever since – but in the 12 years since Ellison was elected, the Muslim demographic in America’s federal legislature has barely increased. Andre Carson of Indiana was elected in 2008, but Carson have Ellison have remained the only Muslims in Congress for the last 10 years.
But it appears they won’t be for long.