Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib Will be Sworn in Using Thomas Jefferson’s Quran
Incoming U.S. congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district, will make history as the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress. Along with Ihan Omar of Minnesota, who will also be sworn in today, the pair are also the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
According to CNN, Tlaib will be sworn in on Thomas Jefferson’s Quran, a symbol, Tlaib said, that “Islam has been part of American history for a long time.” The incoming congresswoman added, “I like that it’s kind of pushing against the stereotype that somehow we are new to this country.”
“My swearing in on the Quran is about me showing that the American people are made up of diverse backgrounds and we all have love of justice and freedom,” Tlaib told the Detroit Free Press.
While Tlaib and Ihan are the first female Muslims elected to Congress, in 2007, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim member of the body. He also used Thomas Jefferson’s copy of Islam’s holiest book in his swearing-in ceremony.
The historical significance of Jefferson’s Quran makes it fitting for the historic occasion Tlaib’s swearing-in represents. The Washington Post called Jefferson’s Quran, “an important symbol of the delicate duality of Muslim-American life.”
Tlaib will also wear the thobe, a traditional Palestinian dress, for her swearing-in ceremony. She explained the decision to CNN. She asserted, “every child of immigrant parents knows what it means when… their biggest hope is that they want us to succeed, but they also don’t want us to lose a part of who we are.”