11/6 has turned into a landmark date in Muslim American history

11/6 has turned into a landmark date in Muslim American history

Rashida Tlaib (L) and Ilhan Omar’s (R) trailblazing victories help reclaim a number of the hope lost with the election of Trump on 11/9, writes Beydoun [AP]

There are some dates which are forever etched in the minds of Muslim Americans – dates that live more in infamy or misery, marking moments of unprecedented fear or scapegoating, anxiety and the collective bracing of backlash. 9/11 and 11/9 rush in your thoughts, numbers that memorialise two days when everything changed for Muslim Americans – the terrorist attacks in NEW YORK and Washington, DC and the election of an orange-skinned man who rode on a wave of Islamophobia completely in to the White House.

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Now, 11/6 not merely stands from those dates apart, but directly counters the ills and evils they fond of 8 million Muslims that call america home. November 6 on, 2018, two Muslim American women made history officially. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat out of Minnesota, defeated her Republican opponent to claim a US Congressional seat soundly. Two states to the east, Rashida Tlaib overwhelmed two contestants in Michigan’s 13th congressional district to claim her invest Washington, DC. 

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Two, a place they are part of. And in the aftermath of these historic wins, the collective prayer of “Do not be Muslim” that follows every terror attack was replaced with “I’m so proud to be Muslim”, uttered by Muslims over the US.

Two Muslim American women, one a daughter of a Palestinian refugee and another a refugee herself, made history by becoming the initial Muslim American congresswomen in American history. Their transformative feat can’t be timed much better, converging with an instant when Islamophobia has been more intense in Washington never, and the collective morale of Muslim Americans in dire need of a glimpse of hope.


Their stories are profound equally, and a primary blow to the white supremacist vision summoned to the fore by Trump and the legion of candidates that followed his lead. Tlaib was raised in Southwest Detroit, a Latinx and Black community sprinkled with Arab families predominantly, like her very own, who embraced the blue-collar culture of the populous city.

Omar found safe haven from her country’s civil war as a refugee in Kenya, settling in Minneapolis ultimately, Minnesota in 1995, which eventually became the real home of the very most populous and thriving Somali community in america.

From the center East to the Midwest and from the Horn of Africa to “Little Mogadishu”, Tlaib and Omar was raised in cities that represent the American heartland and Muslim America simultaneously. Tlaib’s Detroit is widely thought to be an Arab and Muslim American capital, with towns like Dearborn and Hamtramck boasting minarets within their skylines and established and immigrant Muslim communities on the floor. Omar’s Minneapolis is really a vivid and lurid ballad of Muslim life, replete with Somali siblings employed in the airport, a string of Somali malls standing alongside American strip malls exclusively, and the routine perils of FBI surveillance converging with the mundane routine of everyday activity.

11/6 has turned into a landmark date due to who Omar and Tlaib are, not what they truly became making use of their victories. They’re both archetypes of the grouped communities they hail from, and the Arab and Muslim quintessentially, and Muslim and Somali, narratives integral to the complete stories of Detroit and the Twin Cities. Seconds after declaring victory in her contested primary, Tlaib’s mother draped her in the Palestinian flag as she thanked her grandparents in the West Bank, surrounded by way of a diverse sea of supporters, including myself, in Detroit’s Northwest side. 

Tlaib was, simultaneously, palestinian and Muslim unapologetically, wed with that quintessentially Detroit drive that motivated her to knock on a large number of doors seeking support during her campaign and ultimately knock down a wall in Washington, DC that made her the initial Muslim and Palestinian congresswoman in American history.


Omar, the initial Somali congresswoman in circumstances home to 100 approximately, 000 of her women and countrymen, braved freezing, unprecedented and xenophobic terrain to become listed on Tlaib. “We will Washington everyone!” she proclaimed, surrounded by way of a grouped community of Somali immigrants, who travelled exactly the same path that she did, and their children that are inspired to check out in her footsteps now.

Omar, a progressive supporter of “single-payer healthcare, tighter gun restrictions and much more expansive immigration policies”, harmonises the liberal leanings of her city with the aspirations of her Somali Muslim base. And like Tlaib, she could form a supremely diverse coalition of supporters that included everybody from white university students to the LGBTQ community, from conservative Muslims to Black Lives Matter activists. 

While their religious identities will draw them immediate press and praise and invite backlash and bigotry, their substance and what they symbolise apart is what sets them. Within an era where identity is flattened, and stripped from the complete anatomy of the complete story, Tlaib’s and Omar’s faith will monopolise the news. However the faith their communities had inside them, and their rooted love for community and clear progressive agendas, is what delivered them to Washington, and in to the past history books.  

This, in large part, is excatly why 11/6 will forever stand as a landmark date for Muslim Americans, today and forward moving. Tlaib and Omar’s trailblazing victories help reclaim a few of the hope lost with the election of Trump on 11/9, and seventeen years after 9/11, retrenches a number of the darkness looming above Detroit still, Muslim and minneapolis communities beyond and among.  

The views expressed in the following paragraphs will be the author’s own , nor necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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