June 26th, 2009
01:26 PM ET
9 years ago

State Department appoints envoy for Muslim outreach

WASHINGTON (CNN) - One might think the hiring of an envoy to handle outreach to the Muslim world would be something the State Department would want to tout.

Such a move was recently made, but it didn't qualify as significant news for diplomats, who failed to make the appointment public.

This week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose Farah Pandith for the job.

State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly confirmed the appointment on Thursday after being asked about Indian news reports that Pandith, a Kashmiri-American, had been selected for the job.

"She's actually a friend of mine," Kelly told reporters. "I worked with her very closely in the European Bureau, Farah Pandith. She was a special adviser for outreach to Muslim communities in Europe. The secretary has appointed her to more of a global role."

Kelly was unclear about when Clinton tapped Pandith, saying he believed it was made within the past few days.

When asked why the post had not been made public, Kelly said an announcement was sent out to the "State Department community." However, he promised to disseminate more information about the appointment.

During his inaugural speech, President Barack Obama pledged to seek a "new way forward" with the Muslim world "based on mutual interest and respect," after eight years of tense relations with the Muslim world under President Bush.

Earlier this month during speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Obama once again said he would try "to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Matt

    I bet the genious that came up with "Hot Dog" diplomacy for Iranian Muslims will hire a Jewish person to this job.

    June 26, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. T22

    I think they should call him a "czar", after all, we only have about 18 of those, and lots of new "special envoys".

    June 26, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Avi shlomo

    Please please make sure he is one of us an Israeli...
    The administartion may have started on good foot but will always be impeded by our imbalanced and biased approach where the israeli colonial regime interest is put above our moral values of Freedom and self determination. This will only succeed when and only when we use the same sanction regimes against Iran to force istrael into reality and accomodation.

    June 26, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. MZ

    reach out to them, and they'll cut your arm off !!!

    June 26, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Buzz Daly

    OMG! This is clearly a Muslim plot, and can come to no good. Americans will be forced to wear Burqas! And veils! And, that's just the men! OMG!

    June 26, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. annie against biased news

    Sounds like obama is phasing out Sen. Clinton. Probably his plan all along – hire her – make her look bad – then phase her out.

    June 26, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    I think this is great, but I'm sure the usual bunch of Obama-slammers will soon start the "See-Obama-Really-Is-A-Muslim" crapola!

    June 26, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Don

    An outreach to continue the semi-lying, semi-apologetic, quasi-imaginary, somewhat truth-challenged mission of bending over to the Muslim world... Aren't we Americans in the business of freedom, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and all the other values that others need to outreach to (e.g., see Iran in recent days, though the administration have ignored it!)

    June 26, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. rachel

    Hope it works out!

    June 26, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    It is a do-nothing event. Obama is a middle manager. He said he would do "something" to help Muslim relations.

    He told the State Dept to make and envoy. They did. He's done.

    Meanwhile. another village is bombed to dust in Afghanistan by Obama's troops.

    What was the Change again?

    June 26, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. RP Michigan

    Interesting....Where is the special envoy for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Shinto, Buddhists, and any other religious group? And when we're talking Muslims, we're only talking about Arab Muslims. Why not an envoy for Arab Christians? Talk about discrimination!

    June 26, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. yuri

    Kashmir is a part of India, ain't it? So it will be Indian-American, right?

    June 26, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. DawnL,CA

    Another "czar" isn't going to cut it. Why aren't the Muslims sending an envoy to talk with us? 9/11, Kobar towers, 2 embassies, 1st. World trade center bombing, USS Cole ring any bells Pres. Obama? A country can only "kiss-up" so many times.

    June 26, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Larry

    Smart move.

    This appointment is in the right direction. The Bush administration did a great job of putting the whole middle east on edge.

    I like the approach to the Muslim world that President Obama is taking.

    June 26, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. Peter E

    Fun fact: Michael Jackson died a muslim!

    June 26, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Samuel

    Kashmiri women??

    Kashmir belongs to India. She is an American of Indian origin.

    What else can we expect from this incompetent government.

    June 26, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Limbaugh is a liberal

    It is a sad symptom of the division that the previous few decades created between christians and muslims. But compared to the rest of the world, especially India's treatment of muslims, China's treatment of christians, Israel's treatment of both, we are still a very inclusive, very tolerant country!

    June 26, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. Peter E

    Fun fact: most muslims in America are not arabs. They are African-Americans and the members of the Nation of Islam.

    June 26, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Peter E

    Fun fact: most arabs in America are not muslims. They are christians. Why else do you think they came to America in the first place!

    June 26, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Peter E

    Fun fact: the two countries with the largest muslim populations (Indonesia, and India) are not arab.

    June 26, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Kashmiri origin

    Kashmir belongs to India. She is an American of Indian origin.

    If this would have been Bush Administration, there would be an outcry of how incompetent he and his administration are

    June 26, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. JackT

    Oh good; yet another #@!@$%#@ envoy! How many are we up to now; at tax payers expense?

    I can't wait to vote again.

    June 26, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Avi Shlomo

    and who that can be? was he approved by the Israeli's. I guess the Iranian censorship is also alive at CNN as my earlier comments were not posted.

    June 26, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    I thought Obama was our envoy for Muslim outreach....

    June 26, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Bill

    Yea, just Obamas brothers in arms that he can suck up too..watch your neck....

    June 26, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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