USCIRF Commissioners Reappointed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 11, 2014 | USCIRF

WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on April 9, 2014 announced his reappointment of USCIRF Commissioner Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on March 28, 2014 announced his reappointment of USCIRF Commissioners Mary Ann Glendon and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser to the USCIRF.

“USCIRF is very pleased with the reappointments of Dr. Lantos Swett, Professor Glendon and Dr. Jasser,” said USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George.  “They have provided the Commission with invaluable insight and knowledge throughout their time as Commissioners.  Their contributions have been and will continue to be essential toward helping USCIRF fulfill its mandate of highlighting serious threats to religious liberty throughout the world and making policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress on behalf of the cherished right of freedom of religion or belief and its fuller integration into U.S. foreign policy and national security.”

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett established the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice in 2008 and serves as its President and Chief Executive Officer.  This human rights organization is proudly carrying on the unique legacy of the late Congressman Tom Lantos who, as the only survivor of the Holocaust ever elected to Congress, was one of our nation’s most eloquent and forceful leaders on behalf of human rights and justice.  In addition to managing the Lantos Foundation, Dr. Lantos Swett teaches human rights and American foreign policy at Tufts University.  Her varied professional experiences include working on Capitol Hill as Deputy Counsel to the Criminal Justice Sub-Committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee for then Senator Joe Biden and as a consultant to businesses, charitable foundations and political campaigns.  Dr. Lantos Swett is finishing her first two-year term and currently serves as vice-chair.

Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University and former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.  She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and political theory. Glendon is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1991, the International Academy of Comparative Law, and a past president of the UNESCO-sponsored International Association of Legal Science.  She served two terms as a member of the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics (2001-2004), and has represented the Holy See at various conferences including the 1995 U.N. Women's conference in Beijing where she headed the Vatican delegation. Glendon has contributed to legal and social thought in several articles and books, and has lectured widely in this country and in Europe.  Professor Glendon is finishing her first two-year term with the Commission.

M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. is the President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) based in Phoenix, Arizona.  A first generation American Muslim, Dr. Jasser’s parents fled the oppressive Baath regime of Syria in the mid-1960’s for American freedom.  A devout Muslim, he and his family have strong ties to the American Muslim community having helped lead mosques in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Virginia and Arizona.  He is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander with 11 years of service.  In the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Dr. Jasser and a group of American Muslims founded AIFD.  AIFD promotes diverse Muslim voices as advocates for liberty through the separation of mosque and state, in order to counter what it regards as the root cause of Islamist terrorism--the ideology of political Islam (Islamism) and the supremacy of the Islamic state.  An internationally recognized expert on Islamism, Dr. Jasser is widely published on domestic and foreign issues related to Islam, Islamism, national security, and modernity.  He has spoken at hundreds of national and international events including multiple testimonies before the U.S. Congress.  He is author of the book “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save his Faith” (Threshold Editions).  Dr. Jasser is finishing his first two-year term, and currently serves as vice-chairman.

Comprised of nine commissioners, USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal body that is principally responsible for reviewing the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and making policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF offers policy recommendations to improve conditions at the critical juncture of foreign policy, national security, and international religious freedom standards. The President and leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives appoint USCIRF Commissioners.  

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov or 202-786-0613.