Whatever else happens on Election Night, there is this milestone: The first Muslim woman has been elected to Congress, reports BuzzFeed News. Democrat Rashida Tlaib is projected to win Michigan’s 13th congressional district, and handily. When she officially wins it, she’ll also be the first Arab-American Muslim member of the government body.
Tlaib’s win won’t really be a shock: She ran unopposed by a Republican, meaning she only had to best World Citizens Party’s Sam Johnson and Green Party candidate Etta Wilcoxon. So far, they’ve taken, respectively, 6.1% and 2.9% of the votes to Tlaib’s towering 91%.
Tlaib’s victory has been celebrated since it became clear, back in August, that it would almost certainly happen. It’s been seen, for one thing, as a sharp rebuke to the anti-Muslim policies of the current administration. Since Trump’s ascendency, there has been the so-called “Muslim ban,” as well as a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes. The president himself has been known to retweet anti-Muslim propagandists. In response, there’s been a wave of over 90 Muslim candidates in local, state, and national races, the majority of them Democrats.
Born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib is a former Michigan state legislator who ran on a platform that didn’t stress her religion or ethnicity, though neither was downplayed. She focused on economic and environmental justice, Medicare, and a $15 minimum wage.
“A lot of people expect that my race and religion was an issue in this campaign, but it really wasn’t,” Tlaib told Slate in August, when tonight’s victory was first clear. “Voters on the doors don’t care that I’m Muslim, they just want to know that I’ll work hard for them and never sell them out.”
In August, Abdul El-Sayed, also a Muslim politician, ran unsuccessfully for Michigan’s Democratic gubernatorial primary election.
Tlaib’s projected win isn’t the only such news coming out of the Midwest. Democrat Ilhan Omar is expected to take Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, making her the first headscarf-wearing member of Congress, the first Somali-American legislator, and the first woman of color elected to Minnesota’s congressional seat. And, of course, after Tlaib, Omar is the second Muslim woman elected to Congress.
(Via BuzzFeed News)