Will Biden’s Muslim Religious Freedom Ambassador Help Non-Muslims?
Rashad Hussain served as U.S. special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Old Joe Biden’s handlers have chosen Rashad Hussain, who served during Obama’s first two terms as U.S. special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to succeed former Senator Sam Brownback as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Hussain went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week for a perfunctory hearing, but as is increasingly the case in Washington these days, the most important questions at hand weren’t asked. So now a group dedicated to protecting embattled Christians worldwide, the Save the Persecuted Christians organization, along with a number of allied groups and individuals, is asking them of Hussain directly.
The group on Monday sent Hussain an open letter, signed by notables including Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy; Baroness Caroline Cox of the House of Lords; retired Air Force Col. Michael Onisick; radio host Eric Metaxas, Juliana Taimoorazy of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council; Amy Beam, author of The Last Yezidi Genocide; and many others. The letter asks Hussain pointed questions about Sharia, which is entirely justified given the fact that Hussain is clearly a devout and Sharia-adherent Muslim and Sharia quite clearly denies equality of rights to non-Muslims.
When he appointed Hussain his ambassador to the OIC back in 2010, Barack Obama proudly noted that his appointee was “a hafiz of the Qur’an,” that is, that he has memorized the entire Islamic holy book. That means he has memorized passages declaring that non-Muslims are “the most vile of created beings” (Qur’an 98:6), that Christians who believe that Jesus is the Son of God are under the curse of Allah (Qur’an 9:30), and that Allah transformed disobedient Jews into apes and pigs (Qur’an 2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166). Hussain has likewise lovingly committed to memory the passage enjoining Muslims to “fight against those do not believe in Allah or the last day, and do not forbid what Allah and his messenger have forbidden, and do not follow the religion of truth, even if they are among the people of the book [that is, Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).
None of that necessarily means that Hussain, as ambassador for international religious freedom, will slight reports of Islamic entities denying religious freedom to Christians or others. He may have some understanding of such Qur’anic passages that blunts their literal force. However, every nation that claims to implement Sharia today — including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan — denies religious freedom in varying degrees to non-Muslims, as well as to Muslims who are considered heterodox. If Hussain believes that Sharia is the unalterable and perfect law of Allah, does he even believe that non-Muslims should have equality of rights in such countries?
Accordingly, the letter asks Hussain:
In light of differences in the understanding of personal rights and freedoms under Sharia rules versus those protected under international laws concerning human rights and religious freedom, what standard would you advocate for when issues arise affecting the freedom of non-Muslims to practice their faiths – especially in Muslim-majority nations – if confirmed as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom?
And since Hussain previously served as ambassador to the OIC, the letter also asks:
Sharia law is sometimes interpreted to permit faithful Muslims to punish and even kill those who blaspheme against Islam. In your testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you professed a commitment to work against blasphemy laws. Yet, the OIC historically has championed such laws as part of their efforts to “criminalize” criticism of Islam. If confirmed as AAL for IRF, would you expressly reject the OIC’s Sharia-blasphemy agenda and seek the repeal of blasphemy laws worldwide?
Then there is the question of Hussain’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which works internationally to impose and support Sharia governments. Back in December 2012, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the Egyptian magazine Rose El-Youssef published a triumphant article naming six Obama officials, including Hussain, who had turned the Obama White House “from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Also in 2012, Rashad Hussain helped perpetuate the notorious Obama White House false narrative about the Benghazi jihad massacre, claiming that it was the result of spontaneous anger over a YouTube video criticizing Muhammad. The letter asks Hussain:
In your capacity as Special Envoy to the OIC, you were among the U.S. officials who promoted on September 12, 2012, the false narrative that the murderous and pre-planned jihadist attack in Benghazi which resulted in the death of the US Ambassador to Libya and others was actually a spontaneous – and, by implication, an understandable – response to an anti-Islam video with, as you put it, “disgusting images.” Do you repudiate that position today?
These are the kinds of questions that journalists should be asking Rashad Hussain. But we don’t have any journalists today. So Save the Persecuted Christians is doing the job the media should be doing. The best-case scenario is that their open letter will cause at least some lawmakers to pause before confirming Hussain. But does the persecution of religious minorities in Muslim countries even register as a problem for Biden’s handlers and the political establishment in general?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.