First Somali-American poised to become Congress member

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, center, celebrates with her children after her Congressional 5th District primary victory. AP
Updated 15 August 2018

First Somali-American poised to become Congress member

MINNEAPOLIS, US: The US’ first Somali-American state legislator is poised to set the same historic mark in Congress after winning a crowded Democratic primary in Minnesota to replace Rep. Keith Ellison.

State Rep. Ilhan Omar captured the Democratic nomination for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District on Tuesday, defeating a former Minnesota House Speaker and longtime state senator. It puts another notch in the meteoric political rise of a woman who spent her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp and immigrated to the US at age 12 before winning her seat in the state House in 2016.

A Republican has not won the heavily liberal Minneapolis-area congressional seat in many decades, making Tuesday’s primary the de facto election. The seat opened when Ellison launched a last-minute bid for attorney general, leaving the seat after six terms.

Supporters cheered Omar on when she took the stage to claim victory.

“Two years ago, many of us gathered to make history by electing me to the Minnesota House. And I am more than excited that we are gathered here again to make another history, because we’re going to Washington!” Omar told them.

Omar also paid tribute to the young volunteers who helped turn out the vote that gave her a decisive plurality in the crowded race.

“This victory belongs to the college interns, the high school interns who showed up before everyone else did, and who left after everyone was gone,” she said.

Omar and Rashida Tlaib — a Palestinian-American who won a Detroit-area Democratic primary in Michigan last week and is running unopposed in November — are poised to become the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress when they are sworn in.

Omar has leaned heavily on her biography, positioning herself as the candidate best equipped to counter President Donald Trump in Congress. She defeated former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, among other candidates, to advance to the November election.

Omar won her state House seat in 2016 after defeating a well-regarded, 44-year incumbent in a Democratic primary. She has served just a single term in the House, stuck in the minority and boasting few legislative accomplishments.

But she brought undeniable star power to the race, riding the fame from her history-making election to a spot on the cover of Time magazine and a cameo in a recent Maroon 5 music video.

She won late support from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York City congressional candidate who unseated a longtime incumbent in June.


Pakistan  hardens position over disputed Kashmir with new map

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks at a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, February 4, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 45 min 47 sec ago

Pakistan  hardens position over disputed Kashmir with new map

  • The Muslim-majority Himalayan region has been at the heart of more than 70 years of animosity since the partition of British-ruled India into Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India in 1947

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday approved a new map that showed areas in the Himalayan Kashmir valley to be a part of Pakistan, a move likely to anger neighbor India which also lays claim to the territory.
An image of the new map was shared with Pakistani media by Khan’s office. India has not commented on the development so far. The map signals a hardening of Pakistan’s position over the border row.
The Muslim-majority Himalayan region has been at the heart of more than 70 years of animosity since the partition of British-ruled India into Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India in 1947.
Tensions reached a new high in August last year, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took away Indian-administered Kashmir’s special privileges, provoking anger in the region and in Pakistan.
It also took away the region’s status as a state by creating two federally controlled territories, splitting off the thinly populated, Buddhist-dominated region of Ladakh. Jammu & Kashmir had been the only Muslim-majority state in India.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the region.
India has battled insurgency in the portion of Kashmir it controls for decades and blames Pakistan for fueling the strife, but Pakistan denies it is responsible, saying it only gives moral support to non-violent separatists.
The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of mostly-Muslim Kashmir.
Another resolution also calls upon both sides to “refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation.”