By Kendall Shanks

Abid Riaz Qureshi could become the first Muslim-American to serve as a federal judge. Qureshi works cases with Muslim Advocates and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“He has a sharp legal mind, and he has a deep commitment to not only pro bono work, but to fairness and justice for people of all backgrounds,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, in an interview with The Washington Post.

Qureshi graduated summa cum laude (highest distinction) from Cornell and cum laude (with distinction) from Harvard. He has since worked at Latham & Watkins LLP, a law firm in Washington D.C. He is the global chairman of the firm’s pro bono committee.

“I am confident [Mr. Qureshi] will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice,” President Barack Obama said.

In a post 9/11 world, tensions with the Muslim American community have continued to grow. The appointment of Qureshi would be unprecedented. President Obama’s nomination of Qureshi to the federal court in Washington D.C. “sends a message of inclusion that is welcomed by the American Muslim community,” said Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a statement to The Washington Post.

Qureshi’s appointment is awaiting approval from the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee.