Ilhan Omar Is Working to Get Rid of a 181-Year-Old Ban on Religious Headwear in the House

Illustration for article titled Ilhan Omar Is Working to Get Rid of a 181-Year-Old Ban on Religious Headwear in the House
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Representative-elect Ilhan Omar is one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress, and is currently working on a proposal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ditch a dusty old rule that would prohibit her from wearing her headscarf in the House.

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The 181-year-old rule says that members of Congress cannot wear hats on the floor; this would technically include Omar’s religious headscarf. On Saturday, the Minnesota Democrat tweeted: “No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice—one protected by the first amendment.” She added that the hat ban is “not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.”

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A simple hat ban made by a bunch of white dudes 200 years ago is effectively preventing Omar from doing her job while exercising her faith. It’s a telling sign of the need for change when the people who created your workplace never anticipate someone like you to show up.

Last week, Omar told the New York Post that, “There are those kinds of policies that oftentimes get created because people who have blind spots are in positions of influence and positions of power.”

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

Jerry-Netherland
Jerry-Netherland

The first Jewish member of Congress was Lewis Levin of PA in 1844. Sounds like the ban was put in place originally to comport with Christian tradition of men removing a hat while inside (thus avoiding the dreaded sight of a yarmulke). Plus ca change...