First Muslim international religious freedom ambassador receives promise of prayer from SBC leader


First Muslim international religious freedom ambassador receives promise of prayer from SBC leader

The recently confirmed United States ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom has received congratulations and a promise of prayer from the acting head of a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) entity.

The U.S. Senate voted 85-5 in a Dec. 16 confirmation vote for Rashad Hussain, who had been nominated in late July by President Joe Biden. Hussain became the first Muslim to hold the position since it was created in 1998 as part of the International Religious Freedom Act.

Hussain, who served this year as director for partnerships and global engagement at the White House National Security Council, served during the Obama administration as special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and special envoy for strategic counterterrorism communications. The OIC is an intergovernmental organization of 57 largely Muslim countries.

The ambassador-at-large serves as the primary adviser to the secretary of state regarding global religious liberty and also advises the president. He supervises the State Department’s office of international religious freedom. Hussain’s confirmation makes him the sixth person to fill the post since it was established 23 years ago. Sam Brownback, the previous ambassador-at-large, served during the last three years of the Trump administration.

The chair of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commended Hussain’s confirmation. “With his years of knowledge and experience, Ambassador Hussain is well placed to advance the U.S. government’s promotion of international religious freedom,” Nadine Maenza said.


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