WASHINGTON: Ilhan Omar who makes history as one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress celebrate her victory with a pair of phrases “As-Salaam-Alaikum,” and “Alhamdulillah” that was not typically heard in American politics.
Omar received a huge applause when she began her acceptance speech with “As-Salaam-Alaikum,” a universal Islamic greeting that means “Peace be upon you” on Tuesday night during a victory party in Minneapolis, Huff Post reported.
“Wa aleikum salaam,” the crowded room of supporters immediately replied, which means “and upon you be peace.”
Omar, the first Somali American did not just stop here. After the greetings, she offered her gratitude to Allah.
She then followed another common Islamic phrase, “Alhamdulillah,” three times that translates to “all praise to Allah”. This led another round of applause and cheers from her supporters.
“I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with many firsts behind my name,” she said. “The first woman of color to represent our state in Congress. The first woman to wear a hijab. The first refugee ever elected to Congress. And one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.”
“When people were selling the politics of fear and division and destruction we were talking about hope,” she went on. “We were talking about the politics of joy,” she said.
A onetime Somali refugee, Omar, 37, won a House seat in a strongly Democratic district in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding Keith Ellison who was himself the first Muslim ever elected to Congress.
Omar fled Somalia’s civil war with her parents at the age of eight and spent four years at a refugee camp in Kenya.
Her family settled in Minnesota in 1997, where there is a sizable Somali population.
She won a seat in the state’s legislature in 2016, becoming the first Somali-American lawmaker in the country.
The history-making U.S. Representative-elect will assume office in January, sharing the historic distinction with Democratic candidate Rashida Tlaib, a child of Palestinian immigrants who ran unopposed in Michigan.