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President Barack Obama has appointed University of Richmond School of Law professor Azizah al-Hibri to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Obama made the announcement in a White House news release issued June 7.

John Douglass, dean of the School of Law, said, "For decades, Azizah al-Hibri has been a leading international voice for religious freedom and human rights. We are honored to have her as a colleague at the University of Richmond, and we applaud her appointment to the commission."

Members of the independent, bipartisan, federal commission are appointed by the president and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Their principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state and Congress.

In addition to her law school post, al-Hibri is founding editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy and founder of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. She has written extensively on Islam and democracy, as well as women's and human rights in Islam. She has traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world in support of women's rights and was a consultant to the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Qatar in the development of that country's personal status code.

al-Hibri guest edited a special volume on Islam by the Journal of Law and Religion and is currently completing a book on the Islamic marriage contract in American courts. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the American University of Beirut and both a law degree and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

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