Biden appoints Indian-American first Muslim religious freedom envoy

President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Indian-American Rashad Hussain as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Hussain is the first Muslim to be nominated to head US diplomacy for advancing religious liberties.
“Today’s announcement underscores the president’s commitment to build an administration that looks like America and reflects people of all faiths,” the White House said via a press release.
Hussain is a director for partnerships and global engagement at the National Security Council. He formerly served as senior counsel at the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
“Rashad also spearheaded efforts on countering antisemitism and protecting religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries,” the White House added.
Hussain also served as the US special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and deputy associate White House Counsel during the Obama administration.

“In his roles as envoy, Hussain worked with multilateral organizations such as the OIC and UN, foreign governments, and civil society organizations to expand partnerships in education, entrepreneurship, health, international security, science and technology, and other areas,” the White House said.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, he served as a judicial law clerk to Damon Keith on the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and was also an associate counsel to the Obama-Biden Transition Project.

Hussain holds a law degree from Yale Law School and has a master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University.

As per the US state department, “The Office of International Religious Freedom promotes universal respect for freedom of religion or belief for all as a core objective of US foreign policy. We monitor religiously motivated abuses, harassment, and discrimination worldwide, and recommend, develop, and implement policies and programs to address these concerns.”

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