US President Barack Obama waves after delivering a speech about US-Laos relations at the Lao National Cultural Hall in Vientiane on September 6, 2016. (AFP photo)
President Barack Obama has nominated the first-ever Muslim American to serve as a federal judge in the US capital, according to a report.
Abid Riaz Qureshi, a partner in a Washington law firm, was nominated to the US District Court for the District of Columbia, The Huffington Post reported on Tuesday.
“I am pleased to nominate Mr. Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”
Muslim rights advocates hailed the historic nomination.
“A judiciary that reflects the rich diversity of our nation helps ensure the fair and just administration of the law, and it is vital for American Muslims to be included,” Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy organization, told The Post.
However, it is unlikely that Qureshi's nomination will be confirmed before Obama leaves office in January.
Senate Republicans have promised not to hold any hearings on Obama’s nominees since he picked Judge Merrick Garland to serve in the US Supreme Court in March.
That nomination was intended to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died earlier this year.
Qureshi's nomination comes amid a particularly tense presidential election campaign in which anti-Muslim rhetoric has been a dominating theme.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made a series of controversial policy proposals on how the US should treat Muslims, including banning Muslims entering the country and establishing a database to register all Muslims.
The New York businessman has also suggested that a Muslim judge could be unfit for the job.

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