Rashida Tlaib swearing in on Thomas Jefferson’s Quran.
Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), one of the first two Muslim congresswomen elected in the U.S., will be sworn in to Congress on Thursday using Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran.
Jefferson’s copy of the Quran, which was translated by George Sale into English in 1734, currently resides in the Library of Congress, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Tlaib will join incoming freshman Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) as Congress’s first two elected Muslim congresswomen. Tlaib also will make history as the lower chamber’s first Palestinian-American congresswoman.
“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 Free Press. “Muslims were there at the beginning … Some of our Founding Fathers knew more about Islam than some members of Congress now.”
Tlaib told the paper that she is not using the Quran simply to make a religious point.
“My mere existence, that I’m even of Muslim faith, is going to be a problem for them with or without me swearing in on any Quran,” she said. “I believe in secular government [and] my swearing in on the Quran is about me showing that the American people are made up of diverse backgrounds and we all have love of justice and freedom.”
“My faith has centered me. The prophet Mohammed was always talking about freedom and justice,” she added.
There is no requirement for members being sworn in to use a Bible or any other book. The Quran has been used before for other representatives being sworn in.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) also used Jefferson’s copy of the Quran 12 years ago for his swearing in, the paper noted.
In an Instagram post last month, Tlaib said she would be wearing a traditional Palestinian gown when she is sworn in.
She will be using the Quran during the ceremonial swearing in at the Speaker’s office.