Ilhan Omar calls her election to Congress a rejection of ‘religious bigotry’

Ilhan Omar calls her election to Congress a rejection of ‘religious bigotry’
© Greg Nash

Rep.-elect Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarThe symbol of 'Wakanda' and black political vision Booker: Trump, others' criticism of Omar 'trafficking in Islamophobia' Amnesty International, lawmakers denounce Saudi executions: 'Appalling' MORE (D-Minn.), a Somali-American who is set to become one of the first Muslim women in Congress, says in a new interview that her election is a rejection of "religious bigotry."

“In a time where there is a lot of religious bigotry, it’s almost perfect to have this counterbalance. My sister Rashida and I are from the heartland of America,” Omar said in an interview with Roll Call published Tuesday, referring to fellow incoming congresswoman Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibAmnesty International, lawmakers denounce Saudi executions: 'Appalling' Democrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE (D-Mich.).


“To be elected to Congress is a real rejection of that message,” she said.

Tlaib and Omar, who were elected earlier this month, will become the first Muslim women in Congress when they are sworn into office in January.

Omar, who came to the U.S. at the age of 12 as a Somali refugee, will succeed Democratic Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice Ellison18 state attorneys general call on Justice Dept to release Mueller report Keith Ellison: Evidence points to Trump being 'sympathetic' to white nationalist point of view Trump: Media 'working overtime to blame me' for New Zealand attack MORE and represent Minnesota's 5th Congressional District. 

The incoming congresswoman spoke about a range of topics with Roll Call, including the diverse cast of Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate. 

“The fact that we have diverse backgrounds; some of us are mothers, some of us are queer,” she said. “Whatever the case might be, those things are just a bonus that helps have a unique lens into creating policy that is more impactful.”

Omar wears a headscarf and has already teamed up with multiple lawmakers in an effort to reverse a centuries-old ban on head coverings in the House chamber. 

Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDemocrats are playing voters on their fantasies for impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Trump tells House investigators 'no' Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE (Calif.) and likely Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) have co-authored a proposal asking for the House to change the policy.

Omar would be the first member of Congress to wear a religious headscarf if the rule is altered.