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Rashida Tlaib Was Sworn In To Congress Using Her Personal Qur'an

The Michigan Democrat is one of the first two Muslim women elected into the US House of Representatives.

Posted on January 3, 2019, at 1:26 p.m. ET

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian American woman elected to the US House of Representatives, was sworn in to Congress Thursday using her personal copy of the Qur'an.

The Michigan Democrat won her election in November after running unopposed. Tlaib, 42, won the 13th District House seat that for decades was held by Detroit’s legendary former congressman and civil rights icon John Conyers Jr., who stepped down last year amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct first reported by BuzzFeed News.

Tlaib, who is one of the first two Muslim women elected into the US House of Representatives — Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is the other — originally said she would use Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of George Sale’s 1734 translation of the Qur'an into English. The copy resides in the Library of Congress, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Washington Post pointed out that the introduction in Jefferson's Qur'an, written by George Sale, does not shed a favorable light on Islam.

Even so, Tlaib said she believed that using Jefferson's Qur'an would be an important moment for the country.

"It’s important to me because a lot of Americans have this kind of feeling that Islam is somehow foreign to American history," Tlaib told the Detroit Free Press. "Some of our Founding Fathers knew more about Islam than some members of Congress now."

But on Saturday, Tlaib tweeted that she'd chosen to use her own version, not Jefferson's.

I used my own *personal Quran* that my best friend of 25 years gifted me to use for the ceremonial swear in (basically a photo with Speaker Pelosi). *Note: I did not use Jefferson's Quran as reported. I wanted it to be more personal (and my own).

When former Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota also used Jefferson's Qur'an in 2007 during his swearing-in, the act was met with some criticism, including from his colleague, Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode.

"The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran,” Goode said at the time.


US Rep. Rashida Tlaib used her own personal copy of the Qur'an to be sworn in to Congress. This article previously cited a report where she said she would use Thomas Jefferson's copy.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.