Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Former Kenyan Refugee, Ilhan Omar Wins in US Elections in Minnesota

Former Kenyan Refugee, Ilhan Omar Wins in US Elections in Minnesota

Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American woman elected to Congress Tuesday night, prevailing in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District over Republican Jennifer Zielinski.

Tlaib, a Democrat, ran virtually unopposed in Michigan's 13th congressional district, which encompasses southwest Detroit and its suburbs west to the city of Dearborn.

As of 9:46 p.m. on November 6, media outlets have also declared Andy Levin, Debbie Dingell, and Brenda Lawrence winners in their respective U.S. House races.

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported a 21 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the first six months of 2018.

Their victories, which were anticipated, come as US President Donald Trump and other GOP figures continue to stoke fear about Islam and immigrants as sources of problems and danger.

Tlaib, a Palestinian American, will take over the seat vacated by former Rep. John Conyers. After the start of the civil war in 1991, she and her family fled Somalia and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. Minnesota state data showed Omar winning by a large margin, and MI media reported that Tlaib had won. In her "CBS This Morning" interview, she said she hoped to bring a "unique insight" into the "lives and struggles" of refugees when she goes to Washington in January. She campaigned on a progressive platform and won the endorsement of the Democratic Party's fledging progressive wing, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Alongside incoming Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, she will also be one of the first Muslim women to join the congressional ranks.

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Tlaib, 42, also has a history of breaking barriers: In 2008 she became the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature.

Tlaib's win comes after the 2016 election of Trump spurred a record number of women to put their names on the ballot.

Both women have served as state lawmakers. "Yes, we marched outside the Capitol, but now we get to march into the Capitol", she wrote on Twitter this morning.

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