Palestinian family celebrates Tlaib’s victory in Congressional race

BEIT UR AL-FAUQA, West Bank (Reuters) – Sharing smiles and hugs, the extended family of Rashida Tlaib, who is set to become the first Muslim woman to join the U.S. Congress, celebrated her election victory on Wednesday in the courtyard of their West Bank house.

Tlaib’s grandmother, aunts and uncles welcomed neighbors in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, who gathered near their single-story stone house beside a grove of olive tress to congratulate them on the historic win.

“This makes us proud – as the Tlaib family, residents of Beit Ur, as Palestinians, as Arabs and as Muslims, that a simple girl reaches such a position,” said her uncle, Bassam Tlaib.

Tlaib’s family said the soon-to-be Congresswoman held her wedding in Beit Ur al-Fauqa in 1997 and last visited the village in 2006.

The oldest of 14 children born to a family of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib is a Detroit native. Her father worked at a Ford Motor Company plant in the city, home of the U.S. car industry, and she became the first Muslim woman elected to the state legislature.

On Tuesday she won her district’s Democratic nomination for Michigan’s 13th Congressional district, encompassing parts of Detroit and surrounding suburbs and home to one of the largest Muslim and Arab-American populations in the United States.

Since no one ran in the Republican primary, Tlaib is poised to win the seat.

The West Bank is occupied by Israel which captured it in a 1967 Middle East war. The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has limited self-rule in the territory which is home to around 3 million stateless Palestinians. Israel maintains a military presence with checkpoints on major roads to protect 400,000 Jewish settlers.

Additional reporting by Sabreen Taha in Jerusalem and Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Peter Graff

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