Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ilhan Omar makes history, sworn in as first female Somali-American lawmaker in US (PHOTOS)

34-year-old Ilhan Omar has made history by becoming the first Somali-American to be sworn in as a lawmaker in the US.

Ms Omar, a Somali-born former refugee, was elected to serve in Minnesota's state house of representatives in tightly contested elections last year.

The election of Ms Omar, who is Muslim, came just days after US President-elect Donald Trump accused Somali immigrants in Minnesota of "spreading their extremist views".

Omar was the youngest of seven siblings, and grew up in an upper middle class household. Ilhan's father, Nur Omar Mohamed, is Somali, and worked as a teacher trainer. Her mother was Yemeni, and died when she was a child. She was thereafter raised by her dad and grandfather. Ilhan's granddad, Abukar, was the director of Somalia's National Marine Transport, with her uncles and aunts also working as civil servants and educators. After the start of the civil war in 1991, she and her family left the country and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

Ilhan Omar takes the Oath of Office on a special Koran in a ceremony at the Minnesota State Capitol Building (K. Farabaugh/VOA)

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