Ilhan Omar addressed supporters at her election night victory party in November 2016 / © Aaron Lavinsky

Somali woman makes history, inaugurated as US legislator

Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American legislator has officially been sworn into office on Tuesday, 3 January.

Ms Omar, who wears the hijab, the head gear for Muslim women, made history by winning in a State House of Representatives race to serve the people of Minnesota last November.

She stood on the ticket of the Democratic Farmer Labour (DFL) – affiliated to the Democratic Party, in Minneapolis District, defeating the Republican opposition.

Her first tweet after taking office on Tuesday read, ‘‘Today, we celebrated. Tomorrow, we continue to fight for social, economic, and racial justice for all Minnesotans. Forward together.’‘

Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American US legislator, being sworn in on 3 January / © Glenn Stubbe

Ilhan Omar began her term as a lawmaker in the Minnesota House of Representatives, accomplishing what few people thought possible during an election year where Muslim Americans were at the centre of heated political debate about immigration and terrorism.

“It’s the beginning of something new. This district has a legacy of making history. I am excited for our progressive values and to be able to be on the ground at the Capitol representing the diverse people of my district and being a champion with them and for them,” she said after winning the elections last year.

It’s been an unlikely journey from a Somali refugee camp in Kenya to the Minnesota State House of Representatives, but 34-year-old Ilhan Omar’s historic rise to become the first female Somali-American legislator in the United States is now a beacon of hope for Muslims, and particularly Muslim women, around the world.

Vivian Asamoah with agency reports

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