The anti-Muslim rhetoric that has elevated dramatically in the Trump era is likely to leave the United States soon quite soon. While Donald Trump and the Republicans have been using conspiracy theories targeting Muslims, the Democrats — who are continuing to win the House majority — have decided to play against it.
Democrats are attempting to modify a centuries-old rule banning the wearing of hats by House members on the chamber floor. Many believe that the change is proposed to accommodate the first Muslim congresswoman-elect who wears a headscarf. However, the largest Muslim rights group of the nation stood in support of the effort.
Earlier this month, two women — Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar — became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who wears a headscarf, also joined the Democratic leaders in drafting an update to a 181-year-old rule, in order to allow for religious liberty for headwear, including the Muslim hijab, Jewish yarmulkes or Sikh turban.
In a Twitter post on Saturday, Ilhan Omar wrote, “No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice — one protected by the first amendment.”
The Minnesota representative-to-be also added, “And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.”
This reform is a part of a rules package that was introduced by Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The package is likely to be approved when Democrats take majority control of the chamber, in January. In addition, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) backed the proposal.
The CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad said, “We support the effort to update this anachronistic policy and to bring the House of Representatives into conformity with the Constitution and its existing protection of religious freedom.”
Apart from the Muslim community, lost of minorities — Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans and members of the LGBT communities — and record number of women will be filling the ranks of the 116th Congress when it convenes beginning January 3.
Expected to chair the House Rules Committee starting in January, Democrat Jim McGovern said that the update is a sign of the broader diversity in Congress.
“This change will finally codify that no restriction may be placed on a member’s ability to do the job they were elected to do simply because of their faith,” he said.
While the Republicans have been echoing the anti-Muslim rhetoric of Trump since 2016 elections, the Democrats are likely to bring a big alteration to the widespread antagonism amongst the citizens. On the other hand, Islamic women in the country have been beating the stereotypes.
Although the change in law of headwear is still not implemented, Ilhan Omar has not abandoned her hijab. Besides, another Muslim woman Halima Aden became the first model to wear a hijab and burkini at a Miss USA beauty pageant, in Minnesota. Despite facing all the criticism from family and the society, Aden chose to beat all odds.