Rashida Tlaib And Ilhan Omar become the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress

Rashida Tlaib And Ilhan Omar become the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress

History was made last night when the United States elected its first two Muslim women to Congress, Rashida Tlaib And Ilhan Omar.

Democrat and Palestinian-American Tlaib won her election in Michigan after running unopposed by a Republican.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota’s Fifth congressional district, Democrat and Somali-American, Omar, beat out GOP candidate Jennifer Zielinksi to win her race.

The victories mark more than one "first", with Omar becoming the first headscarf-wearing member of Congress, as well as the first Somali American US legislator, and the first woman of colour to represent Minnesota in Congress.

Speaking out about her win, the 37-year-old Somali refugee pointed out the fact that her election is particularly symbolic in the year that the US Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump's revised travel ban on many Muslim countries.

"Tonight, throughout not only in my race, but throughout the country, people are choosing hope over fear and unity over division," she said. "It's a really exciting opportunity in a time when Somalis are on the Muslim ban to be sending a Somali refugee to Congress, Minnesota is sending a clear message, and it's an exciting opportunity."

In addition, after taking to the stage when the race was called, she told cheering crowds - some of whom were crying, singing and dancing - that she didn't run to be "a first", but instead because she couldn't stand on the sidelines as “fear and hate” permeated politics.

"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, and you build with people," she told them, adding that Minnesota not only welcomes immigrants, "we send them to Washington."

Tlaib, who is taking over John Conyers’ seat in Congress after he retired in December amid sexual misconduct allegations, has also been a vocal critic of Trump and was even arrested two years ago for disrupting one of his speeches.

In 2016, the 42-year-old shouted that "our kids deserve better" and encouraged him to read the Constitution in downtown Detroit.

Ahead of the race, she spoke to CBS, telling them that it was time to celebrate.

"The first thing I think about when somebody says you’re going to be the first Muslim is celebrate this moment," she said. "We changed the course of history at a time we thought it was impossible. And that if you just believe, believe in the possibility of someone like me. I think people don’t realise just how much of a roller-coaster it is and its happy chaos right now."

This year has seen more than 90 Muslims, mostly Democrats, enter races for public office on local, state and national levels, more than any other year since the September 11, 2001 attacks.