USCIRF Welcomes Confirmation of a New Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

Dec 17, 2021

USCIRF Welcomes Confirmation of a New Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

USCIRF Looks Forward to Working with Ambassador Hussain

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes the confirmation by the U.S. Senate of Rashad Hussain as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF). The White House nominated Ambassador Hussain, who previously held several high-level positions in the U.S. government including serving as the Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during the Obama Administration.

“We are gratified that the Administration and Congress have prioritized appointing and confirming Rashad Hussain to this essential position,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza. “The right to freedom of religion or belief is under sustained threat globally. The Ambassador-at-Large serves a vital role in leading the U.S. government’s efforts to protect this fundamental right. With his years of knowledge and experience, Ambassador Hussain is well placed to advance the U.S. government’s promotion of international religious freedom.”

Ambassador Hussain is the first Muslim Ambassador-at-Large for IRF.  In addition to serving as the Special Envoy to the OIC, he held several other roles at the National Security Council, the Department of Justice, and the White House. The Ambassador-at-Large position, which derives from the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA), is the principal Executive Branch official on IRF matters. The incumbent also serves as an ex officio USCIRF Commissioner.

We are eager to work closely with Ambassador Hussain and excited to partner with him and his extensive experience to amplify our efforts on religious freedom around the world,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Nury Turkel. “To support his efforts to promote international religious freedom, we urge the Administration and Congress to ensure that other key vacancies are swiftly filled, including the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, the Special Adviser for IRF on the National Security Council (NSC) staff, and Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues."

In January 2021, USCIRF released a factsheet highlighting key positions in the United States government related to international religious freedom that require appointments by the Biden administration.

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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov.