June 30, 2009

US appoints envoy to Muslims


by Sara Levy

The Obama administration has stepped up efforts to create a “new beginning” in America’s relationship with the Muslim world by appointing a Special Representative to Muslim Communities.

Farah Pandith, a Kashmiri-born US citizen, will play a leading role in US efforts to forge ties with Muslim countries and will seek to engage the 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said: “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Farah Pandith to serve as Special Representative to Muslim Communities.

“Farah brings years of experience to the job.”

Born in Indian occupied Kashmir, Pandith moved to the US with her parents when she was five.

Clinton said Pandith “sees her personal experience as an illustration of how Muslim immigrants to the US can successfully integrate themselves into American society.”

Pandith previously worked at the State Department as the senior advisor on Muslim engagement in the European and Eurasian region.

She also served with the US Agency for International Development in Kabul.

Her appointment comes three weeks after Obama’s historic speech in Cairo, in which the US president pledged to seek a “new way forward” with the Muslim world.

Obama called for a “new beginning … based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”

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