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Zahid Quaraishi Confirmed as First Muslim Federal Judge

The United States Senate has confirmed Zahid Quraishi appointment as a US District Judge for the District of New Jersey, making him the first Muslim American federal judge in US history.

“Mr. Quraishi will be the first American Muslim in United States history to serve as an Article III federal judge. The third largest religion in the United States, and he will become the first to ever serve as an Article III judge,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday in floor remarks ahead of the vote, CNN reported.

“We must expand not only demographic diversity, but professional diversity, and I know that President Biden agrees with me on this, and this will be something that I will set out to do,” Schumer said, noting how Quraishi is a “powerful” example of this.

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The June 10 decision has been highly welcomed on social media.

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The Islamic Society of North America has also issued a statement to welcome the US first Muslim federal judge.

Who is Quraishi?

Quraishi is of Pakistani ancestry and served as a magistrate judge in New Jersey.

Quraishi got his law degree from Rutgers Law School, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor. 

He also served as a military prosecutor with the JAG Corps during his time in the Army and did deployments in Iraq in 2004 and 2006, according to his Rutgers bio page. He later worked with the Department of Homeland Security then served as a federal prosecutor in the District of New Jersey. 

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Quraishi 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.

He has also received several honors for his work, according to his Rutgers bio, including the 2019 New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association Trailblazer of the Year Award.

Just before his magistrate judge appointment, Quraishi worked in white collar private practice at the law firm Riker Danzig, according to Rutgers, where he was also the chief diversity officer.