News Brief

Ilhan Omar Is the First Woman to Wear Hijab In Congress

The Somali-born lawmaker is one of two Muslim congresswomen sworn into the House of Representatives today.

Illan Omar, the first Somali-American woman elected to congress, made history in more ways than one today when she also became the first woman to wear hijab in congress and one of two Muslim woman sworn into the United States' House of Representatives.

Ahead of her swearing-in ceremony today, the lawmaker took to Twitter to reflect and to celebrate the milestone with a picture of her and her father. "23 years ago, from a refugee camp in Kenya, my father and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC, she wrote. "Today, we return to that same airport on the eve of my swearing in as the first Somali-American in Congress."


Her father also took to social media to share a heart-warming message about the significance of Omar's appointment, writing "It's an honor to have her represent me and our family is so humbled that Ilhan has the opportunity to serve in our democracy. I wish Ilhan's grandfather could be here to witness this historic moment. He will be here in spirit as Ilhan will place her hand on his Quran for the ceremonial swearing in.

Omar and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, who is the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress, both made history as the first Muslim women to make it to congress. Tlaib was sworn in with Thomas Jefferson's Quran, and wore a Palestinian thobe during the ceremony. "I like that," she told CNN of being sworn-in with Jefferson's centuries-old Quran. "I like that it's kind of pushing against the stereotype that somehow we're new to this country."

She's inspired other Palestinian women to share photos of themselves in the traditional attire, using the hashtag #TweetYourThobe.


Omar, who recently clapped-back after a Republican pastor complained that "The floor of Congress is going to look like an Islamic Republic," proudly wore hijab in Congress, where hats and head coverings had been banned since 1837—a law which Omar herself pushed to abolish, reports Vox. The law was officially overturned today, allowing for religious garments to be worn in the chambers.

The United States House of Representatives is currently the most diverse that it's ever been in its 230 year history, with 35 new women being sworn in today.

Photo by Alfredo Zuniga / AFP

Mozambique's Political Unrest: Where Things Stand

Fears continue to be on the rise as more attacks by militants are anticipated in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.

On March 24th, militants stormed Palma—a gas-rich city in Mozambique—as part of an ongoing insurgency in the country dating back to 2017. Dozens of civilians have been killed although an official death toll has not been declared as of yet. Currently, at least 8000 more have been left displaced, fleeing to other parts of the country and attempting to seek asylum in Tanzania. This is believed to be the worst attacks carried out by the Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab, to date.
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Photo by Alain MINGAM/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

Former Burkinabe President Charged with Thomas Sankara's Murder

Justice is on the horizon as Burkina Faso's former president, Blaise Compaore, is indicted for the 1987 assassination of Thomas Sankara.

Burkina Faso's former president, Blaise Compaore, has reportedly been indicted by a military court in the country's capital for the 1987 assassination of political revolutionary, Thomas Sankara. Hailed as a national hero, Sankara was assassinated alongside 12 other government officials in a coup led by Compaore before he ascended to power. In 2014, Compaore was forced to resign from his 27-year-long rule and seek exile in the Ivory Coast after continued mass demonstrations. Thirteen other political figures, including former General Gilbert Diendere, have also been indicted with charges including "assassination" and "concealment of corpses".

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​DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small Enlist Tresor on Their New Amapiano Album

"Rumble In The Jungle", the latest project from dynamic duo DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, in collaboration with singer TRESOR, offers a refreshingly mature and pan-African amapiano sound.

Acclaimed South African production duo, DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, popularly known as Scorpion Kings, recently released their new album Rumble In The Jungle in collaboration with TRESOR, a Congolese-born but South Africa-based vocalist. The album's two lead singles "Funu" and "Fola Sade" are already popular with music fans. By roping Tresor into their latest amapiano offering, DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small aimed to create a musical experience that would unite Africans.

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Commonwealth Short Story Prize Announces 2021 Shortlist

Moso Sematlane, Rémy Ngamije, Ola W. Halim, Vincent Anioke and Franklyn Usouwa are the African writers on the shortlist for this year's Commonwealth Short Story Prize.