NEW YORK: President Joe Biden has nominated an Indian-American, Rashad Hussain, as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and if approved by the Senate he will be the first Muslim to head US diplomacy for advancing religious liberties.
Making the announcement on Friday, the White House said that Biden is appointing a Pakistani American Khizr Khan to be a member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USICRF), along with two others.
The USICRF publishes the annual report of religious freedom around the world as it advocates for religious freedom around the world and designates violators of religious liberties. Hussain is the Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council has worked as a Senior Counsel in the Justice Department's National Security Division.
Like many Biden appointees, Hussain is an alumnus of President Barack Obama's administration in which he served as the US special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the US special envoy for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications.
"Rashad also spearheaded efforts on countering antisemitism and protecting religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries," the White House said. Hussain, who has a law degree from Yale University and a master's in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University, has also worked with the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.
The position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom was set up by the Congress within the State Department with the mandate to "advance the right to freedom of religion abroad, to denounce the violation of that right, and to recommend appropriate responses by the US Government when this right is violated." (IANS)