First Muslim women elected to US Congress take oath on holy Quran

Published January 4, 2019
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) poses for photographs with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and her family in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol. — AFP
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) poses for photographs with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and her family in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol. — AFP

The first two Muslim women elected to the United States Congress took their oaths on the Holy Quran in a televised ceremony on Thursday.

Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who are of Palestinian and Somali origins respectively, made history as they were sworn into the 116th Congress, becoming the first Muslim women in the 435-member US House of Representatives.

Public Radio International (PRI) and other media outlets reported that Tlaib, in traditional Palestinian dress, used the 1734 English translation of the holy Quran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, an American founding father who later served as US president.

A resident of Detroit, Michigan, Tlaib's family hails from a small Palestinian village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Omar, 37, used the holy Quran that once belonged to her late grandfather, who helped raise her.

"Its important to me because a lot of Americans have this kind of feeling that Islam is somehow foreign to American history," Tlaib, 42, said in an article in the Detroit Free Press.

"Muslims were there at the beginning. Some of our founding fathers knew more about Islam than some members of Congress now."

Omar became the first Muslim women to wear a hijab in the House chamber, which until now was part of a ban on wearing any kind of hat or headscarf.

Her father Nur Mohamed, who accompanied her, wrote on his daughter's Instagram account that her election to Congress comes 23 years after the family came to the United States from Somalia.

The left-leaning PRI reported that the two women — both Democrats — using the holy Quran is a rebuff to President Donald Trump's all-out war on the triple whammy of what Tlaib and Omar represent: immigrants, Muslims, and women.

The Quran has been used before during a swearing-in ceremony. Former Congressman Keith Ellison, a Democrat, also deployed Jeffersons Quran in 2007.

Opinion

Editorial

Course correction
Updated 24 Feb, 2024

Course correction

PTI should not abandon its power and responsibility while expecting an external stakeholder to set things right.
The plot thickens
Updated 24 Feb, 2024

The plot thickens

THE recent explosive allegations by Liaquat Ali Chattha, the former commissioner of Rawalpindi, have thrust the...
Trigger-happy police
24 Feb, 2024

Trigger-happy police

ARE the citizens of Karachi becoming fair game again? There were some grisly signs of a rapid return to living...
What next for PTI?
Updated 23 Feb, 2024

What next for PTI?

THE incoming government has been carved up. With the major offices apportioned between the PML-N and PPP, the...
Tackling debt
23 Feb, 2024

Tackling debt

MANY would tend to describe a new report warning that the country is headed for “inevitable default”, which will...
Imprisoned abroad
23 Feb, 2024

Imprisoned abroad

THE issue of Pakistani prisoners imprisoned in foreign jails crops up regularly, particularly during parliamentary...