WASHINGTON (Rahnuma): Newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib was sworn into the House of Representatives on Thursday wearing a traditional Palestinian thobe, or dress, sparking a movement on social media.
When she announced last month on Instagram that she would be wearing the dress, Susan Muaddi Darraj, a fiction writer from Baltimore, Maryland, introduced the hashtag #TweetYourThobe, which went viral on Twitter after photos and videos on social media showed Tlaib walking around Congress wearing the traditional clothing.
Palestinian women took Twitter by storm posting pictures of themselves in their own thobes.
The thobe she wore featured ornate, hand-stitched embroidery known as tatreez. The craft of tatreez is a folk art that has been practiced by Palestinian women for centuries, according to The Institute for Middle East Understanding, which said mothers and grandmothers used to pass down designs with different motifs and colors associated with different Palestinian towns and villages.
The congresswoman wrote in Elle magazine that she grew up watching her mother hand-stitch these types of dresses.
“Throughout my career in public service, the residents I have had the privilege of fighting for have embraced who I am, especially my Palestinian roots,” Tlaib wrote. “This is what I want to bring to the United States Congress, an unapologetic display of the fabric of the people in this country.”
Tlaib became the first Palestinian woman elected to the U.S. Congress and joined Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar in becoming the first Muslim women elected to the legislature.
Both congresswomen took their oaths of office on the Quran, with Tlaib using a personal copy and Omar using her grandfather’s copy.
“As a kid, I acted as my grandfather’s translator at our caucuses, and he was the one who first sparked my interest in politics,” Omar said on Twitter. “I wish he could be here to witness this historic moment, but he was here in spirit as I placed my hand on his Quran for the ceremonial swearing in.”
Omar wore a hijab for her swearing in ceremony, which was a first for Congress because they had previously banned any sort of headwear.
Tlaib originally mentioned that she planned on taking her oath with a copy of the Quran originally owned by Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, but her office confirmed to Anadolu Agency that she changed her mind and opted for her own personal copy.