Watch LIVE

Muslim congresswoman seeks to lift ban on hats so she can wear headscarf on US House floor

News
Earlier this month, Ilhan Omar won the race for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District seat against Republican candidate Jennifer Zielinski to become one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. She is now seeking a rule change to allow headscarfs to be worn on the floor of the House of Representatives. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) won her congressional seat in this month's midterm elections, and she's already setting out to make her mark in the House of Representatives.

Last week, Omar — who is Muslim and wears a headscarf — joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and incoming Rules Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) in proposing a rule change to the House's ban on hats, which would allow religious headwear to be donned on the floor of the lower chamber.

What are the details?

The current hat ban was imposed in 1837 and states, "During the session of the House, a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not wear a hat or remain by the Clerk's desk during the call of the roll or the counting of ballots," Roll Call reported. The Daily Mail said the rules were later clarified to read, "Every member shall remain uncovered during the sessions of the House."

On Saturday, Omar tweeted that wearing a headscarf is protected by the First Amendment and that she would also be working to lift other bans, which she did not specify.

Omar, 36, was born in Somalia and came to the U.S. in 1995 after fleeing her war-torn homeland with her family at the age of 12. She has lived in Minnesota since 1997 and earlier this month won the congressional seat formerly occupied by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who was elected as the state's next attorney general.

Omar and Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib of Michigan will be the first Muslim women to serve in Congress when they take office next year.

Anything else?

At least one member of the Trump administration has signaled their approval of the rule change. White House adviser Ivanka Trump re-tweeted The Hill's report on Omar's proposal on Monday, calling it an "important rule change for Congress to make."

Most recent
All Articles