Rashida Tlaib is first Muslim woman elected to U.S. Congress

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar

Fresh off her victory as the first refugee, the first Somali-American, and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, Democrat Ilhan Omar said Wednesday that she is going to Washington to help "serve as a check on the rhetoric of fear and division".

The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib ran unopposed in Michigan's 13th district House race, but fended off a late write-in challenge from the woman she defeated in the primaries.

The women show a bit of the diversity of Muslims in the United States, one of the country's most diverse groups.

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

The result of the elections means that the Republicans no longer hold both wings of the United States congress, handing President Donald Trump's political opponents a stronger foothold in Washington.

Tlaib will fill the seat formerly occupied by Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who left office past year amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

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Omar was born in Somalia fled with her family after the country's civil war broke out in 1991. She has captured national attention because of her life story as a refugee who made her way into elected office.

Omar and Michigan's Rashida Tlaib are also the first Muslim women elected to Congress. She previously served in Michigan's state legislature. Her election comes during a presidential administration seen as fanning anger against Muslims and enacting anti-Muslim policies.

The freshly elected women join a number of Democrats who have flipped seats in the House of Representatives, helping their party seize control of the lower chamber from the Republicans and dealing a stern rebuke to Trump.

"We did this, together", she wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.

No Republicans were on the ballot in the heavily Democratic district, which represents parts of Detroit and some suburbs.

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