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NRI woman is Clinton's aide for Muslims

world Updated: Jun 26, 2009 02:15 IST
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Farah Pandith, a Kashmiri-origin woman, has been appointed as special representative to Muslim communities in the US State Department.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appointed Pandith as in charge of a new office that is responsible for outreach with Muslims around the world, according to a notice of the State Department.

Pandith and her staff will carry out Clinton's efforts to "engage with Muslims around the world on a people-to-people and organisational level", the notification said.

Pandith previously was an adviser on Muslim engagement at the State Department, serving as a senior adviser to the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

She has also served on the National Security Council as the coordinator for US policy on outreach to Muslims, and worked at the US Agency for International Development on assistance projects for Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories.

Pandith, who is a Muslim, immigrated to the US in 1969 with her parents from Srinagar, the Jammu and Kashmir summer capital.

Pandith's appointment comes three weeks after President Barack Obama's historic speech in Cairo June 4 to Muslims around the world.

Obama said he was seeking "a new beginning" between the US and Muslims "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."

The US and Islam share common principles of justice, progress, tolerance and "the dignity of all human beings", Obama said.

He also urged Americans and Muslims to commit themselves to a "sustained effort to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings."