Democrats have drafted a proposal of rules for Congress once they take over the House of Representatives in January. One of the proposals is doing away with a 181-year ban on religious headwear, like hijabs, on the House floor. One of the first Muslim women who was just elected to the House, Ilhan Omar, is spearheading the policy change, ABC News reported.
Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to retake the Speakership, proposed the rule change last week. She's working with Ranking Member Jim McGovern and Omar on making the proposal a reality.
Omar has been outspoken about her desire to wear her hijab.
No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice—one protected by the first amendment.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 17, 2018
And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift. https://t.co/7U3ZLTaWur
"I hope this will also help our Muslim schoolgirls who feel challenged or harassed when they wear a headscarf."— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) November 30, 2018
The first Somali-American congresswoman @IlhanMN, is campaigning for a change in the law to allow the wearing of religious headwear in Congress. ???? pic.twitter.com/2qPAf7PDcI
Here's what the current Congressional rules say:
“During the session of the House, a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not wear a hat or remain by the Clerk’s desk during the call of the roll or the counting of ballots,” the section reads. “A person on the floor of the House may not smoke or use a mobile electronic device that impairs decorum. The Sergeant-at-Arms is charged with the strict enforcement of this clause.”
Frederica Wilson tried fighting the rule back in 2010 because she wanted to wear colorful cowboy hats while on the floor. It didn't seem to take hold though.
According to Roll Call, Omar will have a number of "firsts." She'll be the first member of Congress to wear a religious headpiece on the floor of the House, the first Somali-American in Congress and the first woman of color to represent Minnesota in Washington, D.C. Omar and Michigan's Rashida Tlaib are the first two Muslim women in Congress.