US-Based Religious Groups Welcome Rashad Hussain Nomination as Biden’s Envoy for Religious Freedom

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Rashad Hussain

The deep experience of  Rashad Hussain and Khizr Khan in advocating for rights of minorities will further bolster religious freedom for all people, said IAMC president

Team Clarion 

NEW DELHI — Religious groups have welcomed the nomination of Rashad Hussain, originally from Indian state of Bihar, as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom to further ensure protection of religious freedom.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), American Jewish Committee (AJC) and IAMC have expressed their appreciation for Rashad Hussain’s nomination as Biden’s envoy for International Religious Freedom. They all have faith on the experience of Hussain towards safeguarding religious freedom all over the world.

On Friday, the White House made the announcement of nomination of Rashad Hussain as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom in a press statement.

“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.

Hussian, 41, is currently director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council. He has served as Senior Counsel at the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. He has worked in the Obama Administration and has been a Special Envoy and Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications from February 2015 to January 2017. Born to Indian American Mohammad Akbar Hussain, an engineer, and Ruqaiya Hussain, a physician, Hussain grew up in Plano, Texas, according to American Bazaar, and he completed his high school from Greenhill School in nearby Dallas.

American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcoming Hussain’s nomination with CEO David Haris said, “Hussain is ally in the global fight against antisemitism, including his extensive engagement with the Muslim world, and an experienced advocate for building stronger Muslim-Jewish relations”.

Apart from Hussain, the White House nominated Dr. Deborah Lipstadt  Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomed Hussain and Lipstadt’s nomination as its Chair Nadine Maenza said the Commission “looks forward to working closely with Rashad Hussain and Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, once confirmed, to develop new ways for the United States to promote the freedom of religion or belief around the world”.

The USCIRF 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.

Syed Afzal Ali, President of The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a Washington, D.C. based advocacy, while welcoming the nomination said, “The deep experience of  Rashad Hussain and Khizr Khan in advocating for rights of minorities will further bolster religious freedom for all people, especially in India, where Muslims and Christians are facing continuous persecution due to their faith.”

IAMC in its welcome note, however, pressed that “more needs to be done” by the Biden administration to ensure  that  human rights and religious freedom is part of its broader diplomacy.

“IAMC is eager to help the incoming Ambassador and the two USCIRF appointees in addressing the issues of minorities in India.”

However, in India Delhi-based rights activist John Dayal did not show any excitement on the nomination of Hussain and said he is not excited at the nomination of a person of Indian origin and added that they are Americans and their worldview is shaped by American worldview. The fact that an official of Indian origin in the US government has never impacted India-US relations or how the US looks at Indian minorities.”

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