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Zahid Quraishi confirmed as 1st Muslim American federal judge in U.S. history

With a vote of 81-16, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Zahid Quraishi as U.S. district judge for the District of New Jersey. He is the first Muslim federal judge in U.S. history.

Quraishi, 46, is the son of Pakistani immigrants. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, he earned his law degree from Rutgers Law. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, he joined the U.S. Army and attained the rank of captain through the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, NBC News reports. He served two tours in Iraq and received the Bronze Star and a Combat Action Badge.

Quraishi later worked for the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey. In 2019, he became the first Asian American to serve on the federal bench in New Jersey, after he was appointed as a U.S. magistrate judge.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) praised Quraishi before the vote, saying he is a "person of patriotism who happens to be Muslim," and told his colleagues by confirming him, they had the chance to "achieve something that should have been achieved a long time ago."