Obama appoints Indian-origin lawyer as US Envoy to OIC

Last Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010 - 23:49

Washington: President Barack Obama has
named an Indian-origin Muslim lawyer as the new special envoy
to the OIC to repair America`s relations with the Islamic
world, a key element of his foreign policy.

A White House lawyer, Rashad Hussain was nominated as he
had played a key role in developing partnerships with the
Muslim world, Obama said.

Hussain is entrusted with deepening and expanding the
partnerships with Muslims across the world ever since Obama`s
speech in Cairo last June, White House announced yesterday.

In his message through a a video conference to the
US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, Obama called Hussain
"an accomplished lawyer and a close and trusted member of my
White House staff," who would strengthen his policy of
outreach to the world`s Muslims.

"We`ve held thousands of events and town halls... in the
United States and around the world... And I look forward to
continuing the dialogue during my visit to Indonesia next
month," he added.

"I’m proud to announce today that I am appointing my
Special Envoy to the OIC -- Rashad Hussain," Obama said about
the 31-year-old, whose parents are naturalised citizens from
India and live in Plano, Texas.

"As a hafiz (someone who has memorised the holy Islamic
text) of the Quran, he is a respected member of the American
Muslim community, and I thank him for carrying forward this
important work," Obama said about Hussain, presently the
Deputy Associate Counsel to him.

Hussain`s work at the US administration focuses on
national security, new media, science and technology issues.

He has also worked with the National Security Staff in
restarting US relations with Muslims worldwide as Obama sought
to rebuild ties after eight rocky years under his predecessor
George W Bush, when the president delivered a major address in
June 2009 in Cairo.

The OIC represents 57 nations and promotes Muslim
solidarity in economic, social and political affairs.

The US State Department had appointed India-born Farah
Pandith as its Special Representative to Muslim world last
year as part of Obama`s foreign policy priorities.

Hussain, who previously served as a Trial Attorney at the
US Department of Justice, was earlier a legislative assistant
on the House Judiciary Committee, where he focused on national
security-related issues.

He received his JD from Yale Law School and also served
as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. After graduation,
Hussain served as a law clerk to Damon J Keith in the US Court
of Appeals.

Hussain earned his Masters degrees in Public
Administration from Kennedy School of Government and Arabic
and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He attended
college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 14, 2010 - 23:49

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