Both women — Omar, 37 and Tlaib, 42 — are Democrats from the Midwest and outspoken advocates of minority communities that have found themselves in the sights of US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.
To mark the occasion, Tlaib wore a traditional Palestinian thobe, an ankle-length garment that according to Tlaib, used to belong to her mother. On social media, she shared images of the dress and asked others to #TweetYourThobe, inspiring followers to share pictures of their dresses.
However, her thobe was not the only thing that made the news. Tlaib was sworn in on the Holy Quran that used to belong to Thomas Jefferson, the third president and one of America’s founders. It was originally translated in 1734 and is kept in the library of Congress.
Tlaib had run unopposed in a congressional district that stretches from Detroit to Dearborn, Michigan. She blazed through Michigan politics, becoming the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan state legislature in 2008.
In August, she emerged as the winner of a Democratic primary for a seat vacated by John Conyers, a longtime liberal lion who stepped down in December amid sexual harassment allegations and failing health.
On the other hand, Omar was sworn in wearing a headscarf on the floor of the House. There had been a 181-year ban on headwear of any type in the chamber.
No one puts a scarf on my head but me,” she tweeted last November. “It’s my choice – one protected by the first amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.”
Omar won a House seat in a strongly Democratic district in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding Keith Ellison who was himself the first Muslim ever elected to Congress.