Politics

181-Year-Old-Rule Reversed by House in Order to Appease Newly Elected Muslim Congresswoman

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A 181-year-old rule which prohibits people from wearing head coverings on the floor of the House of Representatives is about to change now that a hijab-wearing Muslim has won a representative seat.

The New York Post reports that a Musim, Ilhan Omar, won Minnesota’s election, subsequently bringing an end to the 181-year-old rule which was meant to “differentiate Congress from British Parliament.”

Conservative Tribune reports:

Parlimentarians had a tradition of wearing hats on the floor of Westminster. Given that we took up coffee as our national beverage (and even threw that dastardly tea over the sides of some ships in Boston Harbor) to let the British know how we felt about their institutions, banning hats only seemed to come naturally.

However, in the age of Ilhan Omar, that’s changing.

“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,” Omar stated on Thursday.

He continued, “I think it will be really exciting to see the stuff that we notice within the rules that don’t work for a modern-day America.”

It has been reported that the changes will apply to religious head coverings and head coverings for medical treatment. Democratic Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, who lost her hair in chemotherapy, only had good things to say about the decision.

“I just have a bald head and I’m somewhat getting used to it hoping that it’s a very temporary thing,” Coleman stated. “I don’t think I would start wearing a (hat) now, but I recognize that if someone else has the same issue and wants to, they should be able to.”

Conservative Tribune reports:

There have been numerous changes to dress code in Congress over the years; women were forbidden to wear pants on the floor until 1993, and bare arms were first allowed under Paul Ryan’s speakership.

So, the times they do a-change when it comes to congressional styles. However, the aforementioned rules were based around gender biases and the norms of the era; there wasn’t any real or symbolic reasoning behind them. In this case, it isn’t quite that simple.

As the House’s website notes, proposals to ban head coverings dated back to 1822. In 1833, future president James K. Polk proposed that the House “provide that the members should sit in the House uncovered, unless under special leave of the Speaker.”

Some pointed to the “symbolic value of the tradition, noting that members of the British House of Commons wore hats during debate to symbolize that body’s independence from the King of England.”

In 1837, head coverings were eliminated. Conservative Tribune explains, “Of course, the case could be made that a religious argument against it could have existed since 1845, when Lewis Charles Levin became the first Jewish man elected to Congress.”

Levin went down in history as a brutal “anti-Catholic, anti-foreigner zealot.” The thing is that for 173 of the 181 years that the law has been in place, there has been arguments for eliminating it so that Jewish men could wear their kippahs. There has been no movement… until now.

Conservative Tribune poses the question, “Should the tradition be amended?” The news outlet explains, “It’s interesting that the only representative who plans to take advantage of this new rule is Representative-elect Omar; even Watson Coleman says she’s not going to be taking advantage of it.”


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Thanks, Terry
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About Jack Crane

Jack Crane has been a writer and journalist for over 17 years. He has volunteered around the world with humanitarian projects and has several books and memoirs partially written, and hopes to finish them all some day.

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