By William Wan
President Obama said today he is naming Rashad Hussain as his special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference as part of his effort to build up relationships with the Muslim world.
The announcement came in a video message by Obama to the seventh annual U.S.-Islamic World Forum meeting in the Qatari capital. More on his announcement here.
Some background on the position from AFP:
George W. Bush formally named the first U.S. envoy to the OIC in February 2008, appointing Texas entrepreneur Sada Cumber. The OIC, based in the Saudi city of Jeddah, with its 57 members is the world’s largest Islamic assembly.”
Some background on Hussain from ABC’s story:
A former trial attorney at the Justice Department and clerk to Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Hussain is a devout Muslim and helped inform the speech President Obama gave in Cairo — particularly with the speech’s references to the history of Islam and the Koran, and its general tone.
Here’s Hussain’s credentials from the official White House press release:
Rashad Hussain is presently Deputy Associate Counsel to President Obama. His work at the White House focuses on national security, new media, and science and technology issues. Mr. Hussain has also worked with the National Security Staff in pursuing the New Beginning that President Obama outlined in his June 2009 address in Cairo, Egypt. Mr. Hussain previously served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hussain was a legislative assistant on the House Judiciary Committee, where he focused on national security-related issues. Mr. Hussain received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Upon graduation, he served as a Law Clerk to Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Mr. Hussain also earned his Master’s degrees in Public Administration (Kennedy School of Government) and Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He attended college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.