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The New Arab

Somali-American Ilhan Omar wins US primary

US Congress looks set to have two Muslim women after winning the primary [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 August, 2018

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The American Congress looks set to receive two Muslim women after Somali-American state legislator claimed victory in her primary following Palestinian-American Tlaib's success.
In a ground-breaking political moment, a Somali-American state legislator claimed victory in her primary in Minnesota, putting her on track to become one of the first female Muslim members of the US House of Representatives.

"Ilhan Omar has been declared the winner of the primary election in the race for Congress to represent Minnesota’s Fifth District," a statement on her website said.

"As the first refugee elected to Congress (and the second Muslim woman after Rashida Tlaib of Michigan), Ilhan will bring a unique perspective and new energy to our nation's capital," it said.

"Tonight we are celebrating because we engaged and empowered our community and we won!" Omar added in the statement.

"Together, each and every one of us are the inspiration we need to keep fighting for a democracy that gets us closer to the American promise of prosperity for all and the hope for a better tomorrow," she said.

Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib, a 42-year-old former social worker, won a Democratic primary last week in a safe seat in Detroit. With no Republican or third-party candidates, she is positioned to enter the House of Representatives with the November mid-term elections.

Videos appeared on social media of Democrat Rashida Tlaib's campaign team doing a traditional Palestinian celebratory dabke dance at her headquarters as the final results of the primaries came in. 

While she has become known to the world as the first Arab Muslim woman with a real chance of making it to Congress, Tlaib is perhaps better known in her home town for her advocacy of local issues and committment to social justice.

In an interview with The New Arab last month, she said her Palestinian roots are perhaps what has shaped her dedication to see justice served in her locality.

"Detroit has been neglected for so long. For me, it's a calling to serve, and a calling to protect. I think that comes from my Palestinian roots," Tlaib said.

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