Saturday 21 September 2019
News ID: 56075
Publish Date: 08 August 2018 - 21:48
DETROIT, United States (Middle East Eye) -- Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American and former Michigan state representative, won the Democratic nomination for Congress in a Detroit-based district on Tuesday.
With no Republican candidate in the race, Tlaib will almost certainly become the first Muslim woman in Congress after the general election takes place in November.
The safe Democratic seat had been held by veteran lawmaker John Conyers since 1965. He resigned earlier this year after sexual harassment allegations against him.
"She's not your typical politician," Tlaib supporter Isra Daraiseh ?said of the soon-to-be congresswoman. "She says what she means and she does what she says."
Daraiseh also called Tlaib a role model because of her dedication and "authenticity".
The mother-of-two ran a progressive anti-establishment campaign with a focus on environmental protections and opposing tax cuts for big corporations and she has not shied away from the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Dozens of Tlaib's supporters gathered at a Detroit venue on Tuesday, erupting in frantic cheers with each update on the results that showed their candidate in the lead, as if their favorite football team had scored a goal.
As soon as the DJ played the Arabic folk song, My blood is Palestinian, Tlaib's Arab and non-Arab supporters formed a dabke ring with a Palestinian flag waving behind them.
Community organizer Nada al-Hanooti described Tlaib's victory as "revolutionary" for Detroit and Arabs and Muslims in the U.S.
"I think it is a step in the right direction," al-Hanooti told MEE. "Detroit is really suffering, and I have seen firsthand what Rashida is doing with her constituents."
Tlaib, the oldest of 14 children, told MEE back in March that while growing up in Detroit, she saw parallels between the civil rights movement in the U.S. and the Palestinians' struggle for justice.
She said she is not afraid to stand up to "right-wing extremists" who attack anyone critical of Israel's policies.
"I have been very clear to everyone who has asked about this issue that I see everything through a human rights lens," Tlaib said.
Although the Detroit area is home to large Arab and Muslim communities, they were not a major constituency in Tlaib's district. Her supporters say that proves that she won based on her policy proposals and track record in government.
Khaled Beydoun, law professor and author of, American Islamophobia, said Tlaib's election as the first Muslim woman to Congress is a "landmark moment".

* Comment: