Dec 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Rashad Hussain confirmed as first Muslim religious freedom ambassador

Rashad Hussain speaking in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2010.

Rashad Hussain speaking in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2010. Photo: Amer Hilabi/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rashad Hussain as ambassador-at large of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Why it matters: Hussain is the first Muslim to hold the position, Religious News Service reported. The role was created to coordinate the country's strategy to protect freedom of religion abroad and recommend retaliatory actions when the human right is violated.

  • Hussain was the director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council and previously was senior counsel at the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
  • He 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 for the Obama administration.

The big picture: Hussain's confirmation makes him a leading U.S. spokesperson on international religious freedom amid the China government's genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang province.

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