Early March, Democrat Movita Johnson-Harrell became the new representative of West Philadelphia’s 190th District in the state House. After winning a special election on March 12, she became the first Muslim woman to hold a congressional seat in the state of Pennsylvania. Since elected, Johnson-Harrell has had to deal with bouts of Islamophobic hurdles.

Immediately following her win, Johnson-Harrell, 52, became the target of Islamaphobia online and in-person. At her swearing-in ceremony, an invocation was held, which mentioned Jesus 13 times in under two minutes, even asking Him to “forgive us.”

The prayer was led by Republican State Representative Stephanie Borowicz. Borowicz referred to herself as an "ambassador" of Jesus and also thanked President Donald Trump for his support of the nation of Israel.

"Jesus, we’ve lost sight of you. We’re asking you to forgive us .. Jesus, You are our only hope,” Borowicz said.

Johnson-Harrell responded to the incident.

“I knew I was going to receive some discrimination because of my religion because I’m a hijabi woman. And I am the first … but I did not think it would come on the actual day of my swearing-in.”

After a nudge on the shoulder from House Speaker Mike Turzai, the invocation abruptly ended and was swiftly denounced by other members of Congress.

Susan Cohen, a former Arizona real estate agent for Keller Williams, made comments via Facebook asking Johnson-Harrell to, “assimilate here and remove your hijab,” as well as positing Johnson-Harrell was in the United States and should “start acting like it."

The comments, first reported by AboutIslam, were denounced by Keller Williams who swiftly terminated her employment.

“I do not know Ms. Cohen and I do not understand why she would choose to attack me on social media.” Johnson-Harrell told AboutIslam. “The individuals sending me hate mail and attacking me are doing so simply because I am Muslim.”

Johnson-Harrell garnered 66 percent of the winning vote against her closest competitor Amen Brown, who received 20 percent. Her campaign held a strong focus on the reduction of gun violence as her father, brother, and 18-year-old son were all victims of gun violence and shot to death.

“We ran a race of integrity and class, even with the slander and ‘politircks.’” Johnson-Harrell said in a Facebook post the day of her win. “This win is bittersweet. My seat rests on the grave of my son Charles Johnson.”

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