Even with the outcome expected, there was a sense of history-making when it became official Tuesday night: A Muslim woman was elected to Congress for the first time.

Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, 42, won her election after running unopposed by a Republican. And 36-year-old Ilhan Omar of Minnesota won her race later in the evening. The Midwestern Democrats previously served as state lawmakers.


“They defy ideas of what Muslim women should look like, do like, be like, and I think people will continue to be fascinated by them,” said Wa’el Alzayat, CEO of Emgage, a nonprofit that supports US Muslim political engagement; its political arm donated to the Tlaib and Omar campaigns. “They bring certain perspectives and experiences and views to Congress, which is predominantly white male, and that is the whole point of electing people like them.”

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