Racists went on the attack online after Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress, was sworn in using President Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, Raw Story reports.

Tlaib opted to use the Koran instead of the Bible, during her ceremonial swearing-in but that outraged racists who apparently believe anyone who is not a Christian is an enemy.

According to the Free-Press, Tlaib used George Sale’s 1734 translation of the Koran into English, which is a two-volume work that resides in the Library of Congress.

“It’s important to me because a lot of Americans have this kind of feeling that Islam is somehow foreign to American history,” said Tlaib.

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“Muslims were there at the beginning. … Some of our founding fathers knew more about Islam than some members of Congress now.”

“I believe in secular government (and) my swearing in on the Koran is about me showing that the American people are made up of diverse backgrounds and we all have love of justice and freedom,” she said. “My faith has centered me. The prophet Mohammed was always talking about freedom and justice.”

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There is no requirement that new members of Congress be sworn in on the Bible or any other book.

Vice President Mike Pence, who subscribes to the Christian faith, swore in Tlaib and sent online racists and ring-wingers into a tizzy.


Despite the hate, people are using #TweetYourThobe, in honor of Tlaib. A thobe is the gownlike garment she chose to wear in connection with her culture and faith and it’s worn in the Middle East.

Tlaib also explained the significance of what the Thobe means to her, especially having a mother who would hand-stitch them.

As a young girl, I watched my mother hand stitch thobes while sitting on the floor with a lamp at her side,” Tlaib wrote. “She would make the small designs of flowers and different shapes. Just thinking about it brings up so many memories of my mother and how proud she was of being Palestinian.”

Minnesota voters elected Ilhan Omar and Michigan voters elected Tlaib. Omar’s history wins also included being Minnesota’s first Somali-American legislator and the first woman of color elected to Congress from the state.