Pakistani-American Zahid Quraishi has taken charge as the first Muslim American federal judge in the history of the United States, one step below the country’s top court, giving rise to mixed emotions from the Muslim community.
Zahid, the Rutgers law school graduate, was nominated by the US president, Joe Biden for the coveted slot last year and was then ratified by the Senate on Thursday in an 81-16 vote.
Pakistani-origin US jurist was among the first wave of eleven judicial nominations picked by the US President in March, who sought to counter the influence of his predecessor in steering federal courts to the right.
Earlier, Qureshi had mentioned, “Candidly, I would prefer to be the hundredth, if not the thousandth” as he acknowledged his history-making status after US President nominated him.
About Zahid Qureshi
The man who made headlines across the globe hails from New Jersey and served as an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School. He has also been a magistrate for three years and was appointed in 2019 to be a magistrate judge in the District of New Jersey by the judges he now seeks to join on the bench.
According to his Rutgers bio page, Quraishi is an army veteran who was a military prosecutor with the JAG Corps and did deployments in Iraq in 2004 and 2006.
He later worked with the Department of Homeland Security and then served as a federal prosecutor in the District of New Jersey.
Lauded by the Pakistani Community
Ratification of Qureshi was warmly welcomed by members of the Pakistani community.
Leaders of the American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee (APPAC) including Dr. Ijaz Ahmad, Dr. Mahbood Alam, and Assad Chaudhry, who lobbied hard for Quraishi’s nomination, called his elevation to the federal bench a “historic moment.”
“He is a model for the outstanding contributions that Pakistani and Muslim Americans make to this country every day. We are grateful to President Biden for nominating him and to members of the Senate for confirming him today,” Dr. Ijaz Ahmad, the APPAC chairman, added.