ADC to Recognize Treene and Zafar with Friend in Government Award

Washington, DC | April 7, 2008 | | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2008 “Annual Friend in Government Award,” Mr. Eric Treene, Esq.; Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination at the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and Mr. Shaarik Zafar, Esq.; Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Treene and Zafar will accept the award during the Annual Civil Rights Awards Lunch themed, “The Legacy of MLK & RFK; 40 Years Later,” which will be held on Saturday, June 14 during the ADC National Convention. For more information see:
Treene and Zafar were selected to receive the award as a result of their unwavering dedication to public service by assisting the Arab-American community in its time of need following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and continuing to serve as constructive colleagues in their respective agencies for the past several years. ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “Whether through their efforts at ensuring constructive engagement between the Federal agencies and the Arab-American community or through assisting ADC in navigating the sometimes confusing intricacies of the Federal Government, Eric and Shaarik have been solid and honest voices of reason guiding us through the challenges of the post-9/11 world. We hope that this small token of recognition will serve as an example of the great work we routinely see by those in civil service.”
Previous ADC Friend in Government award recipients have included former EEOC Vice-Chair Paul Igasaki, FBI Assistant Director Joseph Persichini, former Assistant Attorney General and current US Attorney R. Alex Acosta, and DHS Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Daniel Sutherland among others.
Biographical Information-
Eric W. Treene is Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. As Special Counsel, Mr. Treene is responsible for coordinating the Civil Rights Division‘s religious discrimination cases in all of its jurisdictional areas: education, employment, housing, public accommodations, public facilities, zoning and land-use, and prisons. He also coordinates religious bias crime prosecutions, including those involving attacks and threats against houses of worship. He is also in charge of outreach to religious communities, and oversees the Department of Justice‘s outreach efforts to the Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities regarding post-9/11 discrimination and bias crime issues. Before joining the Department of Justice in 2002, he was Director of Litigation at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, where he represented Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Native Americans in a wide range of religious freedom cases.
Shaarik H. Zafar serves as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). His duties include: providing legal and policy advice to Department leadership on issues at the intersection of civil rights and homeland security; working with other Federal agencies to develop and strengthen the U.S. Government‘s civic engagement, public outreach, and public diplomacy initiatives; regularly engaging with the American Arab, Muslim, Sikh, Middle Eastern and South Asian communities to discuss ways to strengthen homeland security while protecting fundamental rights and liberties; and helping law enforcement officials better engage with ethnic and religious minorities. Prior to joining DHS, Mr. Zafar served as the Special Counsel for Post 9/11 National Origin Discrimination at the U.S. Department of Justice where he led DOJ‘s Initiative to Combat Post 9/11 Discriminatory Backlash. Mr. Zafar is a recipient of the DHS Secretary‘s Award for Excellence (2007).

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