Minnesota Democrat Becomes First Person to Wear Hijab in US Congress
Ilhan Omar overcame a 181-year headwear ban on Thursday.
After already making history by becoming the first Somali-American to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives last November, Ilhan Omar made history again this week.
Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district, became the first member of the U.S. Congress to wear a hijab after a 181-year headwear ban was lifted on her behalf.
The rules were changed to allow Omar, a 36-year-old Muslim who was sworn in on the Qur’an, to wear a religious head covering on the floor of the House during Congressional sessions.
“No one puts a scarf on my head but me,” Omar tweeted last November. “It’s my choice – one protected by the first amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.”
23 years ago, from a refugee camp in Kenya, my father and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 2, 2019
As a kid, I acted as my grandfather's translator at our caucuses and he was the one who first sparked my interest in politics.
I wish he could be here to witness this historic moment, but he was here in spirit as I placed my hand on his Quran for the ceremonial swearing in. pic.twitter.com/PRNNOPQXuU
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 4, 2019
Omar grew up in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya after fleeing war in Somalia but moved to the States with her family in 1995 at the age of 14.
“From a refugee camp in Kenya to the Capitol, this story has come full circle,” Omar said. “This is the America I believe in, and the one I will never stop fighting for. On our first day in session, Congress passed two bills to reopen the government with no new funding for Trump’s border wall. It’s time to reopen the government and let our federal employees go back to work.”