US is a friend of Muslims, says US President Barack Obama envoy

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Farah Pandith, the Kashmiri-born US special representative for the Islamic world, Wednesday said her country wanted a ‘long-term relationship’ with Muslims, based on ‘mutual interest and mutual respect’.

Addressing an invited gathering mostly of Muslims in Delhi’s India Islamic Cultural Centre, Pandith said the US wanted to invest in building a relationship with Muslim youth and establish people-to-people contact.


‘Secretary (Hillary) Clinton has asked me to work with the Muslim community around the world as much as we can,’ she said on the second day of her first official four-day trip to India that will also take her to Mumbai.


‘We want to build a long-term relationship and engage with young Muslims in a dialogue based on mutual interest and mutual respect,’ Pandith said.


She said President Barack Obama’s administration wished to reach out to the grassroots of Muslim masses in countries where the Muslims ‘are either in majority or minority’.


Pandith said Muslims formed one-fourth of the world population and the US wanted to negotiate future relations with young Muslims.


‘I am focused on the young generation in the Muslim world and we are engaging young Muslim generation in dialogues and conversations to build trust and remove misunderstandings,’ she said.


Pandith highlighted Obama’s ‘vision to build partnerships with Muslim communities across the globe’.


Pandith is an American Muslim born in India’s Jammu and Kashmir. Her parents immigrated to the US in 1969. She was nominated the Muslim envoy June 23, 2009, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She was sworn in Sep 15 last year.

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