Obama nominates first Muslim American for federal judge

President Barack Obama recently nominated a Washington, D.C.-based South Asian Muslim attorney to be a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

If confirmed, Abid Riaz Qureshi – who was born in Pakistan – is the first Muslim American nominated for federal judgeship.

Qureshi, who has degrees from both Cornell University and Harvard Law School, currently works for Latham & Watkins and specializes in cases involving the false claims, healthcare fraud and securities violations, according to his biography on the company’s official website. He also currently serves as the global chair of the company’s Pro Bono Committee, a position he has held since 2012.

“I am pleased to nominate Mr. 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.”

Qureshi would take the place of Judge Rosemary Collyer, who recently retired from her position. He awaits confirmation from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which according to records has yet not set a meeting date.

Obama’s decision was met by praise by several Muslim American advocacy groups, including Muslim Advocates and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“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,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a press release. “If confirmed, Qureshi will join the hundreds of thousands of American Muslims serving their fellow citizens and the nation.”