The rules of Congress are about to change to allow a new Muslim Congresswoman to wear her hijab.
One of the first female Muslim members of Congress will take her seat wearing the hijab on Thursday after Democrats change the rule banning religious head coverings on the House floor.
When Democrats take power on Thursday, one of their first orders of business will be to pass a package of rules to govern the House. That package changes the ban on head coverings to exclude ‘non-religious headdress.’
That means Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar will be allowed to don her hijab when she’s on the House floor to vote and give speeches.
While regular hats – such as baseball caps and cowboy hats – will continue to be banned, religious gear will be permitted in the 116th Congress.
Omar has been vocal about her desire to wear her head scarf when she is sworn into office on Thursday.
‘No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice—one protected by the first amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift,’ she tweeted in November after she was elected.
The current rules allow Omar to wear her hijab inside the U.S. Capitol building but not the floor of the House, where members give speeches and vote on legislation.
The Democrats’ new package of rules changes that.
The party in power proposes the rules that govern the House of Representatives.
Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Incoming House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern backed Omar in her request and included it in the rules package they released late Tuesday night.
Pelosi has not taken power yet but is already making her weight felt around the Capitol building.
She has named a number of Democrats to non-partisan positions the party in power controls in the House: Cheryl Johnson is the new Clerk of the House, the position that controls legislation, and Douglas Letter will be the new General Counsel, whose office handles sexual harassment issues.
More changes are expected to come as Republicans hand over control after eight years in power.