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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

First two Muslim women sworn into US Congress 

The first two Muslim women, of Palestinian and Somali origins, took an oath on the Quran as they were sworn into Congress

The first two Muslim women, of Palestinian and Somali origins, took an oath on the Quran as they were sworn into Congress

Congress members Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar made history on Thursday as they were sworn into the 116th Congress, becoming the first American Muslim women in the US House of Representatives.

Ms Tlaib, a Detroit native whose family hails from a small Palestinian village in the West Bank, was sworn into the 116th Congress using Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran, translated into English in 1734.

Ms Omar, a refugee from Somalia who sought asylum in the United States 23 years ago, took the oath using a Quran belonging to her late grandfather.

Ms Omar arrived to Congress accompanied by her father and wearing a hijab. She is set to become the first US Congress representative to wear the traditional Muslim veil.

“23 years ago, from a refugee camp in Kenya, my father and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC. Today, we return to that same airport on the eve of my swearing in as the first Somali-American in Congress.”

Her teary-eyed father called the moment “amazing”.

Ms Tlaib instead wore a traditional Palestinian thobe, a long-sleeve garment that is typically hand-embroidered with symbols representing one's family.

The move inspired thousands of Palestinian women on Twitter to show solidarity by wearing theirs and tweeting under hashtag #TweetYourThobe:

The hashtag was started by Palestinian Susan Darraj:

Others dressed their daughters in the traditional dress:

As Ms Tlaib was sworn in, her son was caught dabbing – a gesture of triumph popular among the American youth.

Ms Tlaib tweeted her business card after being sworn in, telling constituents that "her door is always open".

Ms Omar shared her photo with Speaker Pelosi taking the oath over a copy of her grandfather's Quran:

The 116th US Congress has a record number of women in its ranks with 102 women in US House of Representatives and 23 women in the Senate.

Alongside Ms Omar and Ms Tlaib, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American women in Congress. The first two Latino members will represent the state of Texas, and an openly gay Congressman is representing New Hampshire.

For the first time, a woman will represent Arizona in the Senate for the Democratic party, while a female representative from the Republican party will enter Senate from Tennessee.

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