Jul 30, 2021
USCIRF Welcomes White House Nominations for International Religious Freedom Roles
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes President Joseph R. Biden’s nominations of Rashad Hussain as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF) and Dr. Deborah Lipstadt as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
“USCIRF applauds President Biden’s nominations for these key positions. We look forward to working closely with Rashad Hussain and Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, once confirmed, to develop new ways for the United States to promote the freedom of religion or belief around the world,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza. “Global religious freedom violations continue to be a pervasive threat to our national security and global stability. The U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom along with the Special Envoy play an essential role in U.S. efforts to counter that threat.”
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. In January 2021, the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism was elevated to an ambassador-level position, highlighting the importance of the fight against antisemitism as a U.S. foreign policy priority.
“With years of knowledge and experience, Rashad Hussain, who will be the first Muslim IRF Ambassador, and Dr. Deborah Lipstadt are well positioned to advance U.S. efforts to address violations and promote progress on this fundamental right for all individuals, of every faith and no faith alike. We look forward to working closely with both of them,” USCIRF Vice Chair Nury Turkel added. “USCIRF urges the Senate to confirm Rashad Hussain and Dr. Deborah Lipstadt swiftly so they can start their essential work.”
USCIRF worked with Mr. Hussain in his previous position as Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation during the Obama Administration. Dr. Lipstadt was a panelist at USCIRF’s January 2020 hearing on Global Efforts to Counter Anti-Semitism. Her testimony highlighted the history of antisemitism and its modern manifestations, and ways for world governments to respond to the needs of the global Jewish community.
Earlier this year, USCIRF released a factsheet highlighting key positions in the United States government related to international religious freedom that require appointments by the Biden administration.
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 email@example.com.