Page last updated at 23:01 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 00:01 UK

US appoints envoy to Muslim world

Farah Pandith (undated file image)
Mrs Clinton said Ms Pandith brought 'years of experience' to the role

The US State Department has appointed its first Special Representative to Muslim Communities.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Farah Pandith would play a leading role in US efforts to "engage Muslims around the world".

She said Ms Pandith, who was born in Indian-administered Kashmir, would bring years of experience to the role.

The appointment is part of President Barack Obama's attempts to improve relations with the Muslim world.

Mrs Clinton said Ms Pandith "sees her personal experience as an illustration of how Muslim immigrants to the US can successfully integrate themselves into American society".

The State Department said Ms Pandith, who is a Muslim, would be responsible for helping US efforts to "engage with Muslims around the world on a people-to-people and organisational level".

The statement said Ms Pandith was previously the senior adviser on Muslim engagement in the European and Eurasian region at the State Department and had worked in the Afghan capital, Kabul, with the US Agency for International Development.

In a speech in Cairo earlier this month, Mr Obama said there had been "years of distrust" between the West and Islam but he was seeking "a new beginning" in the relationship.

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