WASHINGTON --- On February 13th President Barack Obama appointed Rashad Hussain, currently working as a legal counsel at the White House, to be the US Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). Making the announcement via video conference, to the annual gathering of the US-Islamic World forum bringing together hundreds of religious and civic leaders, government officials and members of civil society, the President said that Hussain's appointment was part of "deepening" the relationship with Muslim Majority countries, which he had outlined in his Cairo speech.
SEE: U.S. Envoy Is to Be Link to Muslims (NY Times)
Rashad has extensive interaction with Muslim communities since the mid 90s. He has degrees from both Yale and Harvard and is a Hafez (one who has memorized the Quran). What is significant is that the President appointed a person recognized for his involvement in Muslim communities and who has extensive knowledge of Islam as a faith and Muslim communities internationally, both features of which are strong points as we engage Muslim countries.
There is a misconception, which has been fueled by the media that the practice of faith fuels extremism, while Rashad Hussain's appointment debunks that myth. The appointment of Rashad Hussain is encouraging to all young Muslims who want to establish a career in public service and work for the US government.
In his new leadership role as an ambassador representing America to Muslims abroad, Rashad Hussain, is a shining example of what Muslim Americans can do: serve as peacemakers based on President Obama's goal to seek "mutual interest and mutual respect."
MPAC remains committed to continuing its civic and government engagement programs which will help young Muslims develop skills to follow the footsteps of all Muslims in our government today, highlighting the success of Rashad Hussain.