Obama Just Appointed the First Muslim American Federal Judge

President Obama made history when he announced the nomination of D.C. lawyer and Muslim-American Abid Riaz Qureshi to the U.S. district court of D.C. earlier this week. If nominated, he'll become the first Muslim-American to serve on a U.S. court at the federal level, according to NBC.


“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.”

According to a statement issued by the White House, Qureshi practices law at the firm Latham & Watkins, where he specialized in health care fraud and security violations. 

His nomination is pretty powerful symbolically, as Muslims have been the target of an incredible amount of Islamophobia lately—presidential candidate Donald Trump has said he'll ban Muslims from entering the U.S., and anti-Muslim hate crimes are on the rise.

"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," Nihad Awad, the National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement.

Because the senate doesn't want to confirm Obama's appointments (remember that whole Merrick Garland fiasco?), it's unlikely Qureshi will be appointed before the end of the presidential term. But with the appointment of Qureshi, Obama continues to build off his legacy of promoting diversity, having appointed more women and people of color to the courts than previous presidents, as CNN points out.