Home / News / India /  Joe Biden nominates Indian-American Rashad Hussain as first Muslim religious freedom ambassador

US President Joe Biden has nominated Indian-American attorney Rashad Hussain as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, the first Muslim to be nominated to the key position, according to the White House.

Hussain, 41, is currently Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council.Hussain holds a law degree from Yale Law School and has a master's degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University.

“Today’s announcement underscores the President’s commitment to build an Administration that looks like America and reflects people of all faiths. Hussain is the first Muslim to be nominated to serve as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom," the White House said in a statement on Friday.

Rashad Hussain is Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council.

He previously served as Senior Counsel at the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. During the Obama Administration, Rashad served as U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), U.S. Special Envoy for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and Deputy Associate White House Counsel. 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. Rashad also spearheaded efforts on countering antisemitism and protecting religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Rashad also worked on the House Judiciary Committee, served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Damon Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and was an Associate Counsel to the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Rashad received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal, and Master’s degrees in Public Administration (Kennedy School of Government) and Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He has also taught as Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law Center and the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. He speaks Urdu, Arabic, and Spanish.

Rashad also spearheaded efforts on countering antisemitism and protecting religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries.

According to the White House, Deborah Lipstadt has been nominated as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with the Rank of Ambassador and Sharon Kleinbaum as USCIRF Commissioner.

Lipstadt is a renowned scholar of the Holocaust and antisemitism, the White House said.

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