Democrat Ilhan Omar just made history as she became one of the first female Muslim members of Congress to take her seat wearing the hijab.
The 37-year-old who came to the United States from Somali represents the fifth district of Minnesota.
Democrats formally ended the ban on religious head coverings on the House floor as part of the package of rules to govern the House.
The package of rules also changes the ban on head coverings, excluding ‘non-religious headdress.’
This means Omar is now allowed to wear her hijab while working on the House floor to vote and deliver speeches during sessions.
The American-Somali was later ceremonially sworn in on the Koran while holding Islamic prayer beads.
Regular hats such as cowboy hats and baseball caps will continue to be banned but religious gear will be allowed in the 116th Congress.
Omar had been open about her desire to wear hijab when she is sworn into office.
She wrote on Twitter after she was elected: “No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice—one protected by the first amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.”
Incoming House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern and Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed Omar in her request.
Omar is joined by Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib of Michigan as the first Muslim women in Congress.
With virtually no debate, the rules were changed to read: “Every member shall remain uncovered during the sessions of the House.”
Omar’s election to Congress brought many firsts: the first Muslim refugee and first Somali-American elected. She also became the first woman of color to represent Minnesota.
Democratic Rep. Fredrica Wilson also tried to change the hat ban nine years ago. “It’s sexist,” she told the Miami Herald. “It dates back to when men wore hats and we know that men don’t wear hats indoors, but women wear hats indoors. Hats are what I wear. People get excited when they see the hats. Once you get accustomed to it, it’s just me. Some people wear wigs, or high heel shoes or big earrings or pins. This is just me.”
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