As new Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) wore a thobe ― a traditional Palestinian dress ― to her swearing-in ceremony Thursday, women responded by tweeting photos of their own thobes in her honor.
Tlaib made history as the first Palestinian-American congresswoman and one of the first Muslim women in Congress, along with fellow new Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Tlaib announced last month that she planned to wear the Palestinian dress to the first day of the 116th Congress.
Fellow Palestinian-American Susan Muaddi Darraj decided last month to launch a Twitter campaign #TweetYourThobe in order “to educate others about our culture while we celebrate [Tlaib’s] achievement,” she said.
“I was thrilled to learn Rashida would wear the thobe,” Darraj told HuffPost in an email. She noted that Tlaib planned to wear a thobe from her mother ― just as Darraj’s dress was given to her by her own mother.
“Every thobe has a story, and it’s a story that mothers pass down to their daughters,” she said.
On Thursday, Palestinian women flooded Twitter with their own photos wearing thobes.
Tlaib told HuffPost in August that she was “going to be a voice for” Palestinians.
“I look forward to being able to humanize so many of them that have felt ‘less than’ for so long,” she said at the time.
Tlaib planned to use Thomas Jefferson’s Koran for her swearing-in. Former Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who was the first-ever Muslim in Congress, used the same Koran in 2007.
“It’s important to me because a lot of Americans have this kind of feeling that Islam is somehow foreign to American history,” Tlaib told the Detroit Free Press. “Muslims were there at the beginning.”
Omar wore her hijab for the swearing in on the House floor Thursday ― a first for Congress, which previously banned headwear. Omar is the first Somali-American elected to the body, and one of the newest group of members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the largest in history.
Here are more tweets from Palestinians celebrating Tlaib by posting about their thobes:
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated former Rep. Keith Ellison was a representative of Michigan; in fact he represented a district in Minnesota. This story also indicated Ilhan Omar represented Michigan instead of Minnesota.