Minnesota, 14 Safar 1438/14 November 2016 (MINA) – In an election that starkly divided the country on Tuesday, one result was a glimmer of hope for people who opposed Donald Trump: Minnesota elected America’s first Somali American legislator, Ilhan Omar.
The 34-year-old, who came to America as a refugee almost 20 years ago, beat out a Republican opponent to gain a seat in the state house of representatives, Star Tribune reported.
“Tonight, we are celebrating this win, our win. But our work won’t stop,” she said after her victory. “We will continue to build a more prosperous and equitable district, state and nation where each and every one of us has opportunities to thrive and move forward together.”
Omar, a practicing Muslim who wears a hijab, walked a long and difficult path to election, and won in a year where Muslims faced a barrage of hate crimes and threats.
Her victory came less than a week after President-elect Donald Trump referred to Somali immigrants in the area as “a disaster” during a rally.
Omar came to the US when she was 14 from a refugee camp in Kenya, a country which hosts hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees. She learned English in three months and later obtained a degree in political science.
Omar, a longtime political and community activist, previously worked as a senior policy aide and campaign manager for Andrew Johnson who is a member of the Minneapolis City Council. She currently works as director of policy initiatives for the Women Organizing Women Network. The group counsels East African women on civic participation and leadership.(T/R04/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)