One of the more explosive claims in the suit comes from an internal email that said hiring a Muslim to investigate religious freedom in Pakistan was akin to “hiring an IRA activist to research the UK twenty years ago.”
In response, USCIRF commissioners claimed they were within their rights to base their decision on her religion, arguing that the anti-discrimination clause of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not apply to the commission.
Strangely, the commissioners weren’t entirely wrong. Indeed, it’s possible that Ghori-Ahmad’s suit would not have had as much traction before this past January, when Sen. Richard Durbin succeeded in passing legislation reforming USCIRF. Included in the reforms was new wording that holds the commission accountable for religious discrimination—now and retroactively.
“It is simply unacceptable for a Federal agency charged with promoting human rights to argue that it has the legal right to discriminate against its employees,” Durbin said on the floor of the Senate when presenting his reforms.