Woman Who Lived in Kenyan Refugee Camp Wins USA Elections


After moving to the U.S.at the of 12 as a Somali refugee, Omar told TIME she grew a love for politics that was inspired by her grandfather, who loved the idea of democratic governments.

Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's nominee, will secure their respective seats in strongly Democratic districts following primary victories earlier this year that effectively decided their races.

Voters in Minnesota and MI this morning elected the first two Muslim women to serve in the US Congress, a former refugee who fled Somalia's civil war and a Detroit-born Palestinian-American. A proud Palestinian, Tlaib has also been an advocate for Palestinian rights and is an outspoken critic of Trump.

In a year when a record number of women are running for Congress and races across the country include more candidates of color and more gay, lesbian and transgender candidates, Tlaib and Omar add to the diversity of newcomers to the electoral process.

Omar, the first Somali-American Muslim to be elected to the Minnesota legislature or any elected office in the United States, is also part of a historic wave of women looking to clinch higher.

Ilhan Omar is the first Somali-American elected to Congress.

"I did not expect to come to the United States and go to school with kids who were anxious about food as much as I was anxious about it in a refugee camp", Omar said in an interview last month.

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Omar fled Somalia's civil war with her parents at the age of eight and spent four years at a refugee camp in Kenya.

"I'm Muslim and black", the hijab-wearing Omar said in a recent magazine interview.

She campaigned on a platform calling for free tuition and promising to fight to expand Medicare coverage to all Americans.

The attorney and former state legislator is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants.

There was no Republican on the ballot in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.

She also recognized Michigan's Rashida Tlaib who is also Muslim for winning. That may force her to resign from Detroit City Council to do so.

"Regardless of whether we win or lose, this gets to shift the narrative of what is possible", she said.