The US Congressional midterm elections, which took place on the 6th of this month, witnessed the election of the first two women to the legislative branch of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Elhan Omar, a former refugee who fled the civil war in Somalia and wears the Muslim headscarf, won over the US-born Republican presidential candidate Rachida Tlib in an election in which members of minority groups won the first election success.
Members of Congress from the Democratic Party, of which Omar belongs, are drafting an amendment to an internal Congressional bill that, for 181 years, has banned wearing any headscarf in its halls.
The revised version will allow exceptions for religious reasons to be applied to the Muslim headscarf, the Jewish skullcap and the Sikh turban.
The current rule of Congress was applied in 1837, and no member was to wear a hat during work, and it was later modified to cover all types of headgear.
The revised version will be presented to the House of Representatives, which has a majority of the Democratic Party next January. “No one has put a veil on my head except me. It is my choice.”
The first amendment to the US Constitution provides for the freedom to practice religion, as well as the protection of freedom of expression, especially freedom of the press, and also prohibits interference with the right to peaceful assembly of American citizens.
Democratic congressman Jim McGovern said in a media statement that the revised version of the party’s members reflects multilateralism and McGovern is expected to chair the committee charged with voting on the new internal amendment.
McGovern added that the revised rule “will stipulate that there should be no restrictions that prevent a member of Congress from performing his or her elected office, especially because of his religion.”