USCIRF Welcomes President Biden’s Appointments of Khizr Khan and Sharon Kleinbaum

Aug 3, 2021

USCIRF Welcomes President Biden’s Appointments of Khizr Khan and Sharon Kleinbaum

Washington, DC – President Joseph R. Biden announced the appointments of Khizr Khan and Sharon Kleinbaum to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

We are thrilled to welcome Khizr Khan and welcome back Sharon Kleinbaum to our bipartisan Commission,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza. “Their backgrounds and commitment to freedom of religion or belief for all will be a great asset to USCIRF as we consider and recommend policies to the U.S. government to better support communities and individuals abroad who are discriminated against or persecuted for their beliefs.” 

Khizr Khan is the founder of Constitution Literacy and National Unity Center. He has long been an advocate for religious freedom as a human dignity. After migrating to the United States from Pakistan in 1980, he attended Harvard Law School. Khan is licensed to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States, various federal district courts, and Washington, DC and New York State courts. He is a Gold Star parent of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed while serving in Iraq and posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with valor.

Sharon Kleinbaum was previously appointed to USCIRF in December 2019 by Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). She currently serves as spiritual leader of New York City's Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) and was installed as CBST's first rabbi in 1992. Kleinbaum has long been involved in the fight for human rights for all people. For many years she has been ranked by Newsweek among the 50 most influential rabbis in America. Kleinbaum is also a Commissioner on New York City's Commission on Human Rights, serves on Mayor de Blasio's Faith Based Advisory Council, and serves on the boards of the New York Jewish Agenda and the New Israel Fund.

We look forward to the contributions that Commissioners Khan and Kleinbaum will make to USCIRF based on their expertise on international religious freedom,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Nury Turkel. “They both bring a wealth of knowledge that will enhance USCIRF’s work.

USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives. The full list of USCIRF Commissioners is available on its website.




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