Intolerance and discrimination against Muslims continue to be an issue across the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, region. The United States strongly supports combating all forms of discrimination and intolerance against Muslims and is making an effort to build mutual respect between people of all faiths. The U.S. government works continuously to ensure that persons of all faiths, including Muslims, can enjoy the fundamental freedoms of religion and free expression.
The United States recognizes the need to move beyond mere tolerance to partnership based on mutual interest, respect, and responsibility. That was U.S. Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal’s message to the OSCE High-Level Conference on Tolerance and non-Discrimination. In an important shift, Special Envoy Rosenthal, who works on combating Anti-Semitism, spoke at the conference about the need to end discrimination and intolerance against Muslims, while the Special Representative to Muslim Communities addressed ending anti-Semitism.
In his June 2009 Cairo speech, President Barack Obama pledged to Muslims worldwide that the U.S. would make a sustained effort to engage people and governments and to listen. Since then, the U.S. has held thousands of events with students, civil society groups, faith leaders and entrepreneurs around the world.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others have held roundtables, webchats, and town hall meetings to engage people across the globe, with a particular focus on the next generation of Muslims. In June 2009, Secretary Clinton appointed a Special Representative to the Muslim Communities, Farah Pandith, specifically to focus on people-to-people engagement with Muslim communities around the world. This February, the President also appointed Rashad Hussein to be the Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
The United States recognizes that there is not one Muslim community, but rather many different and diverse communities. In its worldwide engagement with Muslim communities, the U.S. government recognizes the diversity of Islam and the important cultural and religious nuances within each community. Thanks to the Internet and new technologies, those communities are now more interconnected than ever before.
The U.S., said Ambassador Rosenthal, cannot do it alone. "We urge our allies and partners and all participating [OSCE] states which are willing, to reach out and work with us towards our shared goals."