Obama Nominates First Muslim to Federal Bench

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by Aaron Maxwell  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 7, 2016   

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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - For the first time in U.S. history, a Muslim is being nominated to serve as a federal judge. President Obama announced the nomination Tuesday. 

Pakistani-born Abid Riaz Qureshi is a lawyer at the Latham and Watkins law firm. Qureshi has been a strong advocate for Muslims, once representing a Saudi-funded Islamic school in a labor dispute. He has also fought for the California-based civil rights group Muslim Advocates in a First Amendment case. And he has represented a production company seeking to advertise a documentary film about Muslim comedians called "The Muslims Are Coming."

Obama stated, "I am pleased to nominate Mr. Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench. I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice."

If confirmed, Qureshi would be the first Muslim to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, remarked on the decision, "The nomination of Abid Qureshi to fill a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sends a message of inclusion that is welcomed by the American Muslim community and by all Americans who value diversity and mutual respect at a time when some seek division and discord."

With Obama only having four months left in office, it is unlikely Qureshi will be confirmed as a federal judge by the Senate. The Senate has already blocked more of Obama's nominees for the federal judiciary than any other president within the last 30 years.

Obama has been active in making minority appointments. According to White House spokesperson Josh Earnest, "He has appointed 117 minorities to the federal judiciary. That's more than any other president."


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