Obama nominates Pakistani-American as first ever Muslim federal judge

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated Abid Qureshi, the first Muslim-American, to serve as judge on the federal judiciary, a local newspaper reported.


This is the first such judicial nomination in the country’s history. “I am pleased to nominate Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”

Abid Qureshi, a partner at Latham & Watkins in Washington DC, was nominated to the US District Court for the District of Columbia. Born in Pakistan, Qureshi earned his bachelor’s degree in 1993 from Cornell University and his law degree in 1997 from Harvard Law School.

Muslim rights advocates hailed Qureshi’s nomination. “I commend President Obama for taking this important step in continuing to pick the best and brightest from every community to serve as part of our nation’s judiciary,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy organisation.

She added that having a rich diversity in the judicial system would help ensure fair and just administration of the law. Hailing Qureshi’s nomination, she endorsed his unrelenting commitment to the rule of law and justice for people of all backgrounds which, according to her, “makes him an exceptional nominee”.

Qureshi’s nomination comes amid a racially charged presidential election campaign waged by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The real-estate tycoon has suggested that a judge of Muslim or Latino descent could be “unfit for the job”.

Over the course of his campaign, Trump has repeatedly vowed to keep some Muslims out of the US and subject some immigrants to ideological tests as a prerequisite to entry.