Ilhan Omar will be first Muslim woman to wear hijab in Congress with Democrats set to end head covering ban

Democrats are looking to change the rule banning head coverings on the House floor

Sarah Harvard
New York
Wednesday 02 January 2019 21:30 EST
Former refugee Ilhan Omar becomes the first Somali-American state legislator to win US House primary

Minnesota Democrat Representative-elect Ilhan Omar will become the first woman to wear the hijab in Congress when she takes her seat, with her party set to overturn a rule banning head coverings on the House floor.

The Democrats will assume control of the House of Representatives on Thursday and the first order of congressional business is to pass a set of rules regarding House governorship.

One of those rules include changing the ban on head coverings to one that excludes only “non-religious” headwear.

As of right now, the rule on head coverings allow Ms Omar to wear her hijab inside the US Capitol building, but not on the House floor.

The rule change will allow Ms Omar to wear the hijab, a practice of her Islamic faith, while she is on the House floor to either vote or make speeches.

The Somali-American legislator has been outspoken about her desire to wear the hijab while she represents her district in Congress.

“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,” Ms Omar tweeted after she won election in November.

Typically, the majority party proposes the set of rules that will govern the House of Representatives.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Incoming House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern both supported Ms Omar’s request and included it in the rules packaged the party released on Tuesday night.

Hats or head coverings of any kind were banned from the House floor beginning in 1837.

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