U.S. Senate Votes to Confirm First Indian American Muslim to Top Religious Freedom Position
12/16/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) –International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Senate has voted to confirm Rashad Hussain as the next Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. In this position, Hussain will serve as the highest-ranking member in the State Department for advancing international religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy.
President Biden nominated Hussain for the position back in July, calling on him to fill the role formerly held by Samuel Brownback under the Trump administration. Many organizations celebrated Brownback’s tenure as ambassador for his commitment to engaging with civil society and promoting human rights in U.S. foreign policy.
Hussain was born in Wyoming to Indian American parents and is the first Muslim to hold the post of IRF Ambassador. His educational background includes the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard, and Yale. Before his nomination, Hussain served as the Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council. Hussain also served under the Obama administration, where he spearheaded efforts on countering antisemitism and protecting religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries.
During his confirmation hearing, Hussain cited overall downward trends of religious freedom around the world in discussing his commitment to the ambassadorship. He said, “a staggering eighty percent of people worldwide live in environments with high or severe restrictions on religious freedom.”
He said that far too many people around the world continue to face arrest, torture, discrimination, and even death on account of their beliefs. Anti-Semitism, Christian persecution, anti-Muslim hatred, and others forms of intolerance are on the rise.
In discussions regarding the role, Hussain has emphasized his commitment to addressing persecution around the world and, in particular, Christian persecution in societies that heavily inhibit one’s ability to live out their faith.
Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy at ICC, welcomed the confirmation as a step forward for advancing religious freedom. “We at ICC celebrate the confirmation of Mr. Hussain as the new Ambassador for International Religious Freedom,” said Perttula. “Mr. Hussain has a proven track record of addressing persecution around the world. We will continue to push the U.S. to advance religious freedom globally and we look forward to working with Ambassador Hussain on these issues to help the persecuted Church around the world.”
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