As per the White House, US President Joe Biden selected Indian-American lawyer Rashad Hussain as the international ambassador for religious freedom, the first Muslim to be nominated for a major post. Hussain is 41 years old and is presently the Director of Global Engagement and Partnerships for the National Security Council.
Today’s statement underscores the president’s responsibility to building a government that features the United States and reflects people of all faiths. The White House said in a statement Friday that Hussain was the first Muslim to be nominated as an international ambassador for religious freedom. Early, he worked as Senior Legal Advisor in the Department of National Security of the Ministry of Justice. During the Obama administration, he served as a special diplomat for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation of the United States (OIC), a special envoy for strategic US counterterrorism communications, and a deputy adviser to the White House.
As special envoy, Hussain cooperated with multilateral organizations such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations, foreign governments and civil society organizations to extend partnerships in the fields of education, entrepreneurship, health, security, international and technology. He also took the lead in the fight against anti-Semitism and the protection of religious minorities in Muslim majority countries. Before joining the Obama administration, Hussain worked on the House Judiciary Committee as a clerk.
Hussain obtained his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School where he worked 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 can speak Urdu, Arabic and Spanish.
President Biden also selected Pakistani-American Khizr Khan as Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). As per the White House, Deborah Lipstadt has been selected as Special Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with the Rank of Ambassador and Sharon Kleinbaum as USCIRF Commissioner.