MPAC Welcomes Presidential Appointment of Mohamed Elsanousi as USCIRF Commissioner

July 2, 2024 Statements

Washington, D.C. | | July 2, 2024 — The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) welcomes President Biden’s appointment of Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Dr. Elsanousi’s extensive background in interfaith dialogue, religious freedom advocacy, and his commitment to safeguarding the rights of religious minorities make him an encouraging choice for this critical role.

USCIRF monitors the universal right to freedom of religion abroad, employing international standards to track violations and make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. The role of a USCIRF Commissioner is crucial in shaping U.S. foreign policy to promote and protect religious freedom worldwide. Dr. Elsanousi’s appointment represents a significant opportunity to influence policies that address international religious freedoms and human rights violations and underscores the importance of diverse voices and perspectives in positions of influence, ensuring that our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is inclusive and robust.

As the Executive Director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, and through his previous work with the Islamic Society of North America, Dr. Elsanousi has demonstrated a deep commitment to protecting the freedoms of religious minorities. His contributions to the U.S. Department of State’s Taskforce on Religion and Foreign Policy, and his pivotal role in the adoption of the Marrakesh Declaration, underscore his ability to foster meaningful dialogue and collaboration among diverse religious communities.

Moreover, Dr. Elsanousi’s leadership in initiatives such as Faiths4Vaccines highlight his ability to mobilize faith communities and address pressing global challenges through interfaith cooperation. His efforts in advancing equitable vaccine distribution and combating vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to his innovative and inclusive approach to protecting the most vulnerable communities. These efforts are indicative of his broader commitment to safeguarding human security, both on the religious freedom front and in the realm of public health.

While we strongly oppose President Biden’s policies regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, we believe it is imperative to remain engaged in efforts that tackle the growing religious freedom and human rights violations across the globe. 

The appointment of Dr. Elsanousi to USCIRF is a step in the right direction. We are hopeful that his appointment will contribute to mitigating religious freedom violations in regions such as Palestine, India, Myanmar, China and beyond. MPAC looks forward to collaborating with Dr. Elsanousi to ensure that the rights of all religious communities are consistently respected and upheld.

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