Rashad Hussain White House Role


Christian Century has published a short summary on the role that Rashad Hussain, the new US envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), is playing in the Obama White House. According to the report:

As Obama pursues a “new beginning” between the U.S. and Muslims around the world, he frequently seeks the counsel of Rashad Hussain, a 31-year-old White House lawyer. Hussain briefed Obama before his first interview as president with Al Arabiya, a television station based in the United Arab Emirates. He has also contributed to Obama’s two major speeches to Muslims—in Cairo and in Ankara, Turkey—offering insights about the history of Islam in America and suggesting suitable verses from the Qur’an. Hussain has also traveled to the Middle East with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and he helped organize a Ramadan dinner at the White House that replaced the usual crowd of ambassadors with young American Muslims. In naming Hussain as his envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Obama noted that the young Muslim is a hafiz (someone who has memorized the Qur’an). But Hussain and others said Muslims abroad are more likely to take note of his White House credentials and access to the Oval Office as he seeks partnerships in education, health, science and technology. “For many years, Muslim communities have been viewed almost exclusively through the lens of violent extremism,” Hussain said in an interview. “We do not feel that we should engage one-quarter of the world’s population based on the erroneous beliefs of a fringe few.”

For a short time, Mr. Hussain was embroiled in controversy after the GMBDW reported both his associations with the US Muslim Brotherhood and remarks that he had made in 2004 about the prosecution of convicted terrorist Sami Al-Arian that were later deleted from the publication that reported them. Mr. Hussain at first denied remembering that he had made the remarks calling the prosecution “politically motivated persecution” but later, after an audio tape surfaced documenting the remarks, he acknowledged the comments but said that they had been “ill advised.” Mr. Hussain also admitted that he had complained to the publication about being misrepresented after the remarks were first reported but that the publication had deleted them on their own volition. The remarks did not appear to have been deleted until after Mr. Hussain had been appointed White House Counsel.

For an analysis of these events, go here.

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