US voters are poised to elect two Muslim women to Congress in the midterm election next week, marking a historic first even as anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric has been on the rise.
Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, is all but certain to be elected to the US House of Representatives in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she is the party’s nominee.
Rashida Tlaib, a social worker born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents, will win a House seat in a district where she is running unopposed.
The two will be the first Muslim women to serve in the US Congress. They will increase the total number of Muslims in Congress to three.
Congressman Andre Carson, who is Muslim and African American, is likely to win reelection in his safely-Democratic district in the state of Indiana.
The expected electoral milestone is in stark contrast to the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment around the country. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported a 21 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the first six months of 2018.
Both Tlaib and Omar have positioned themselves as polar opposites of President Donald Trump and his Republican Party. (AFP)