In March, President Joe Biden nominated Zahid Quraishi to join the United States District Court for New Jersey, a post that would make him the first Muslim federal judge in America. While this is a milestone for Muslims in America, Zahid Quraishi is facing criticism from various groups.
Several lawyers and political operatives (who wish to remain unnamed) are accusing the Biden Administration of sidestepping many Muslim American civil rights organizations to nominate Quraishi.
Disapproval regarding Zahid Quraishi’s resume has also surfaced as it stated that he previously served as a lawyer for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which is notorious for arresting people with no criminal records.
However, as per sources Quraishi represented the U.S. in immigration court for political asylum cases, a role that involves arguing the government’s position in various immigration cases.
According to the critics, Zahid Quraishi is not a suitable candidate to represent the Muslims as there are no public records or articles publicly written by him about the Muslim struggle in the last 20 years post-9/11.
Zahra Billoo, a civil rights lawyer and the executive director for Council on American-Islamic Relations San Francisco, said too much was unknown about Quraishi.
Critics have claimed that there were better Muslim candidates available that should have been nominated instead and are questioning the decision-making process which led to Biden nominating Zahid Quraishi for the post of a federal judge.
With regard to the nomination process, several lawyers have stated that the process excluded Muslim organizations committed to civil rights and instead relied on select Muslim groups that are major Democratic donors.
Despite criticism, many have lauded Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Zahid Quraishi as it is considered an attempt to diversify the judicial bench. It is yet to be announced whether or not Zahid Quraishi is officially America’s first Muslim federal judge.
I congratulate both Magistrate Judge Zahid Quraishi and Julien Neals on their nominations to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. With these historic nominations, @POTUS is proving his commitment to ensuring that our bench is more diverse. pic.twitter.com/vusSEOWm6N
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 30, 2021