It is with great pride that I share with you news of President Obama’s appointment of AAI President Jim Zogby to serve on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). USCIRF is a nine-member, independent, bipartisan Federal Government commission that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. It makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress.
Last week, Jim participated in his first meeting as an active member of the Commission and our community is proud of the appointment of one of our own to this key Administration post. Jim will be a steadfast voice for reason and continue to provide balance as the Commission addresses issues of great importance to our country and community.
Those of you who have followed Jim’s career know that whether he is advocating for the rights of Muslims in the US or Christians in the Middle East, Jim has spent a lifetime fighting for human rights. He currently serves in several leadership roles for a number of interfaith organizations, including Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, the Shoulder-to-Shoulder campaign, and the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East.
It is a testament to Jim’s work that news of his appointment has been met with praise from our community and our partners. He has received countless letters of support from national and international religious, political, and human rights organizations. And because he is so effective at what he does, we have also heard the predictable attacks from a small fringe of anti-Arab and Islamophobic hate groups.
Here at AAI, we are proud of Jim and look forward to bringing you further news of his work benefiting religious communities around the world. Indeed, his appointment will serve to enhance AAI’s own work advocating for greater understanding and respect for all people.
Lastly, given Jim’s new responsibilities, I would most welcome hearing about international religious freedom issues that concern you.
All The Best,