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President Obama Appoints Professor al-Hibri to U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

June 8, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Azizah Y. al-Hibri, Professor of Law at the University of Richmond and founder and president, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, was appointed by President Barack Obama yesterday (June 7), to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

"My fellow Commissioners and I are most pleased to welcome Professor al-Hibri to the Commission. She comes with a distinguished record of service as a human rights advocate devoted to the protection of freedom of religion for people of all faiths, and we look forward to working with her,” said Leonard Leo, USCIRF chair.

Dr. al-Hibri was appointed to a two-year term and will replace outgoing commissioner Imam Talal Eid, founder and Executive/Religious Director of the Islamic Institute of Boston. Commissioner Eid was appointed by President George W. Bush in May 2007.

"We deeply appreciate the service that Imam Eid provided his country by serving on USCIRF,” said Leo. "His extensive involvement in our work helped to defend the freedoms of many religious minorities across the globe, and we wish him well as he pursues other activities to advance this aim.”

Dr. Azizah Y. al-Hibri is a professor at the T. C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond. She is a former professor of philosophy, founding editor of Hypatia: a Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and founder and president of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights (see http://www.karamah.org).

For the past 20 years, Dr. al-Hibri has written extensively on issues of Muslim women"s rights, Islam and democracy, and human rights in Islam and is widely published in law journals and other legal publications. Currently Dr. al-Hibri is completing a book on Muslim women"s rights.

She has lectured extensively within the United States, Europe and the Muslim world at universities, religious and interfaith institutions, community centers, governmental agencies, think tanks and various public forums.

Other USCIRF Commissioners include Leonard Leo, USCIRF chair, vice chairs Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou and Dr. Don Argue, Felice Gaer, Dr. Richard Land, Nina Shea, Rev. William Shaw and Ted Van der Meid.

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF"s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, contact Tom Carter, Communications Director at tcarter@uscirf.gov or (202) 523-3257.