Congress is set to soon receive its first Muslim female representative as former Michigan state Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib runs unopposed for former Rep. John Conyers’s seat.
Tlaib won the Democratic nomination to run for the seat in Tuesday’s District 13 primary election and is now set to win the November election unopposed, since no Republican or third-party candidates ran in the primary. When she takes office in January, she will be the first Muslim woman to serve in Congress. (RELATED: Record Number Of Muslims Running For Office, Think Ocasio-Cortez Victory Shows They Have A Chance)
“This is a huge victory for the Arab and Muslim American communities — it’s also a huge victory for the city of Detroit,” said Sally Howell, director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, according to the Associated Press. “Rashida Tlaib brings forward the legacy of John Conyers in terms of the groundbreaking role he played in Congress and his commitment to civil rights.”
Tlaib is the daughter of Arab-American immigrants. She is a native of Detroit and served in the Michigan House from 2009 to 2014. She is also a fierce critic of President Donald Trump and his administration and claims that her Palestinian heritage helps to fuel her opposition to what she believes they represent.
“A lot of my strength comes from being Palestinian,” she told supporters after winning the primary, according to The New York Times. “I will fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled.”
She spoke with the Palestinian flag wrapped around her shoulders.
“I’m going to push back against everything that’s so un-American that’s coming out of this administration,” Tlaib added. “My grandmother told me never to let a bully tell me, ‘can I do this?’ or ‘you can’t do this.'”
Tlaib’s record of opposing Trump stretches back to 2016, when she heckled him during his speech to the Michigan House of Representatives in Detroit. She lambasted Trump for receiving an honorary Purple Heart gifted to him by a veteran. Tlaib was soon escorted out, along with other women taking part in the staged protest.
Tlaib is part of a wave of more than 90 Muslims who have entered races nationwide, some of whom took inspiration from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in the New York primary election. They have begun campaigns for elected office at every level of government.
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