Sometimes, she said, it’s a quick bite to eat after the sun sets and then back to the House floor for a vote or to a committee meeting.
But not on Monday. On this night, halfway through the month-long holiday of Ramadan, Omar enjoyed a buffet of food as she and two other Muslim members of Congress hosted some fellow members for a traditional Ramadan meal.
The congressional iftar, hosted at the Capitol, was a night for Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) to explain their faith to their colleagues. Of course a break-the-fast meal in the halls of Congress included a hefty serving of politics alongside the naan and kebabs.
Your “religion gives you values and inspiration,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said of the Muslim faith, before he pivoted to current affairs. “We will stop this white supremacist, white nationalist rhetoric that’s so hateful, so divisive, so deadly, as we’ve seen in Charlottesville.”
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), like many, also mixed religion and politics. “The Bible doesn’t tell me to love my neighbor if they’re Christian, . . . The Bible tells me to love my neighbor.”
The three Muslim members of Congress invited about 100 guests, including clergy of other faiths and Muslim activists. A guest of honor was Khizr Khan, who gained notoriety in 2016 when then-candidate Donald Trump mocked him after he spoke at the Democratic National Convention about his son’s death in the US military and his wife, who stood beside him, did not.
Monday night, Omar recalled Trump’s comments about Khan’s wife, Ghazala, “Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say” as a Muslim woman.
“Little did they know they were going to get the two loudest Muslim women in the country” in Congress, she joked of herself and Tlaib. Both women were elected in 2018. Along with Carson, who has been in Congress since 2008, the three represent the largest number of Muslims ever to serve in Congress at once.
“They say that we have three in Congress," Carson joked. "It’s really three plus AOC,” a reference to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). He jested about getting the New York congresswoman, who is Catholic and has referred to the importance of her faith in her policymaking, to repeat the Muslim statement of faith.
Ocasio-Cortez, in turn, showed her knowledge of Islam when she came to the microphone and talked about attending Friday prayers, or jumah, in her district, which includes a substantial Muslim population in the Bronx and Queens.
“When Ilhan prays, when I pray, when Rashida prays, when Ayanna [Pressley] prays, when Jan Schakowsky prays, I believe those prayers all go to the same place — up,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Source: The Washington Post