Second Muslim Woman to Serve in a US State Legislature, and the First in Michigan Legislature
Hijri 1396-Present (AH); Common Era 1976-Present (CE)
Rashida Tlaib is a Democratic representative of the 12th District of the Michigan House of Representatives. She is the first Muslim woman to be elected to the Michigan legislature and only the second Muslim woman nationally to be elected to a state legislative body. A Palestinian-American raised in Detroit, she was born in 1976 to a father from a suburb of Jerusalem and a mother from near Ramallah in the West Bank. Rashida is the oldest of 14 children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wayne State University and went on to receive a law degree from the Thomas Cooley School of Law. Rashida credits her family’s struggle to create a new life for themselves in southwest Detroit for her commitment to public and community service.1 Prior to assuming office, she worked for organizations like Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, and the International Institute of Metro Detroit. It was her subsequent position in the office of Representative Steve Tobocman that led to her running for his seat. Tobocman, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, convinced Rashida to run when he finished his final term and, because of term limits, could not seek the office again. Her priorities are the rights of immigrants and the environment. She says of her position that she views her role as that “of a social worker [more] than anything.”2 Rashida is currently the minority vice chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee for the Department of Community Health. “About Rashida,” Rashida4Rep.com. “Rashida Tlaib is first Muslim woman to be elected to Michigan legislature,” Kalamazoo Gazette..