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President Biden announces religious freedom-related nominations, including first Muslim appointee

by Premier Journalist
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United States Mission Geneva

The Biden administration has named four individuals who will fill critical positions connected to religious freedom issues and combat anti-Semitism.

On Friday, the Biden administration released a statement announcing the four leaders who will be taking over key positions in managing religious affairs. These include:

  • Rashad Hussain, Nominee for Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
  • Deborah Lipstadt, Nominee for Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with the Rank of Ambassador
  • Khizr Khan, Appointee for Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Sharon Kleinbaum, Appointee for Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

Rashad Hussain currently works as the director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council. If Hussain is confirmed, he will be the first Muslim appointed to serve as America's religious freedom ambassador. The position had previously been filled by former Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who vacated the position in January during the administration swap. 

Deborah Lipstadt currently works as the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. She has authored several books on Judaism and the Holocaust.

Khizr Khan founded the Constitution Literacy and National Unity Project and has been advocating for religious freedom as a core right required for upholding human dignity. An immigrant himself, Khan has worked in several courts and offers their services to veterans and current employees in the military. 

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum has served as the spiritual leader at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City, where she has held office since 1992. Kleimbaum has become a notable political voice in New York, offering support for several progressive causes. They are also a member of several commissions, including Mayor De Blasio's Faith-Based Advisory Council and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

"Today's announcement underscores the President's commitment to build an Administration that looks like America and reflects people of all faiths." notes the Biden Administration. At this moment, none of the new appointees appear to include Evangelical or Mainline Christians.

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