Rashida Tlaib Is Set to Become the First Muslim Woman Ever Elected to Congress

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On Tuesday night, former Michigan State Representative Rashida Tlaib made history. Tlaib won the Democratic primary election in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. She will run unopposed in the general election, and is thus set to become the first Muslim woman—and the first Palestinian-American woman—to ever be elected to Congress.

Tlaib won with 33 percent of the votes in a stacked primary. Her nearest challenger, Brenda Jones, lost by more than 3,000 votes.

Separately, Tlaib and Jones also ran against each other in a special election to determine who will finish the last two months of former Representative John Conyers’ term. Conyers stepped down in December, after multiple female staffers accused him of sexual harassment. That race was still too close to call as of Wednesday morning.


Tlaib is a progressive candidate and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, which endorsed her candidacy. Her campaign platform included securing a $15 minimum wage, protecting unions, and Medicare for All. She also supports overturning Trump’s Muslim travel ban, dismantling detention centers, and securing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Tlaib is an active member of local activist communities in Michigan, and has been involved in various protests over the years. She was forcibly removed by security while participating in a protest of a Trump speech in 2016. In a recent profile, the New York Times reported her as saying that protesting “evil” is “one of the most American things anyone can do.”


Tlaib has often been compared to New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another woman of color who ran an unapologetically progressive campaign. “We are basically running the same campaign, with the same platform and with a very similar candidate,” Tlaib’s campaign manager Andy Goddeeris told CNN.

Tlaib is also part of a new group of Muslim women candidates running in elections this year, alongside top candidate Ilhan Omar, who would also become one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress if she wins her primary election in Minnesota on August 14.