<!-- IMAGE -->
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has named Farah Pandith as Special Representative to Muslim Communities. This appointment, said Secretary Clinton, comes at a time when the United States "seeks a new beginning with Muslims around the world, a relationship based on mutual interest and mutual respect. It's a relationship that requires us to listen, share ideas, and find areas of common ground in order to expand a peaceful, prosperous future."
The new office of special representative will help provide Muslims with an accurate view of American society. "This is a dialogue that is not going to focus solely on terrorism or radicalization," said Secretary Clinton, "but instead, focus on what we have in common ... whether we're going to have a peaceful, prosperous and stable world."
There are over 1.4 billion Muslims in the world. "The challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change, and corruption," said Secretary Clinton, "are not unique to any part of the world, to any people, and certainly not to any faith."
In addition to these broader issues, said Secretary Clinton, specific problems have be addressed, including how to increase investment in Iraq and put people back to work. It is also critical to engage young Muslims in Europe who feel marginalized or disassociated from their communities.
Secretary Clinton noted that there is "no such thing as a monolithic Muslim world ... it cuts across many ethnic and racial identities." The U.S. hopes to use online social media tools that helped engage Muslims in Europe to reach across the broader spectrum of communities in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. In an effort promote tolerance, Special Representative Pandith will work to bring leaders, civil society groups, and policymakers together who agree to reject violence and religious extremism.
The relationship between the United States and Muslim communities, said Secretary Clinton, "has suffered from misunderstanding and misperception. But we are committed to learning and listening; to creating bridges of understanding and respect; and building stronger bonds of cooperation. We believe," said Secretary of State Clinton, "that there is more that unites people of all faiths than divides us."