Rashida Tlaib all set to become first Muslim woman in the US Congress

August 9, 2018

On Tuesday Rashida Tlaib won her district’s Democratic nomination for Michigan’s 13th Congressional district. PHOTO: TWITTER/@RashidaTlaib

Sharing smiles and hugs, the extended family of Rashida Tlaib, who is set to become the first Muslim woman to join the US Congress, celebrated her election victory on Wednesday in the courtyard of their West Bank house.

Tlaib’s grandmother, aunts and uncles welcomed neighbors in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, who gathered near their single-story stone house beside a grove of olive trees to congratulate them on the historic win.

The oldest of 14 children born to a family of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib is a Detroit native. Her father worked at a Ford Motor Company plant in the city, home of the US car industry, and she became the first Muslim woman elected to the state legislature.

On Tuesday she won her district’s Democratic nomination for Michigan’s 13th Congressional district, encompassing parts of Detroit and surrounding suburbs and home to one of the largest Muslim and Arab-American populations in the United States.

Since no one ran in the Republican primary, Tlaib is poised to win the seat.

“This makes us proud – as the Tlaib family, residents of Beit Ur, as Palestinians, as Arabs and as Muslims, that a simple girl reaches such a position,” said her uncle, Bassam Tlaib.

Tlaib’s family said the soon-to-be Congresswoman held her wedding in Beit Ur al-Fauqa in 1997 and last visited the village in 2006.

Relatives of Rashida Tlaib distribute sweets as they celebrate her election victory, in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa in the occupied West Bank August 8, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

The West Bank is occupied by Israel which captured it in a 1967 Middle East war. The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has limited self-rule in the territory which is home to around 3 million stateless Palestinians. Israel maintains a military presence with checkpoints on major roads to protect 400,000 Jewish settlers.