November's election for Congress could be historic because there is a high possibility that the United States will have the first Muslim woman elected for the House seat. Rashida Tlaib, a former Michigan state Representative, has won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for the congressional seat which was long held by former Representative John Conyers. Conyers, who is 89-year-old, was first elected to the House in 1964. Conyers stepped down in December citing health reasons, but he was also accused of sexual harassment by several former female staffers.
No Republicans or third-party candidates ran in the District 13 primary race, meaning Tlaib is set to win the seat and begin serving a full two year-term in January. Michigan's 13th Congressional District is the heavily Democratic district which covers much of Detroit and some of its suburbs. “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, as Religionnews.com reports. “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.”
Rashida Tlaib, the eldest daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is an attorney and advocate at the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, and she was already the first Muslim woman in Michigan's Legislature where she served till 2014 before reaching term limits. She is one of many American Muslims who are running for office, from local school boards to the US Senate. At least five of the candidates for Congress are women. Tlaib is one of the top Muslim American candidates and she has a very good chance of breaking one of the last religious barriers in Congress.
According to CNN, Tlaib is taking an "aggressive and direct" approach to campaigning, just like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a political newcomer in New York who shocked the establishment by beating a prominent Democrat in the party's primary last month. "We are basically running the same campaign, with the same platform and with a very similar candidate," said Andy Goddeeris, Tlaib's campaign manager. Both campaigns describe themselves as unabashedly progressive and — rather than blanketing the airwaves with ads — have taken their message directly to tens of thousands of voters, meeting them on the streets of Detroit or a New York subway station.
Photo Credits: Wisconsin Muslim Journal