New U.S. Envoy to the Muslim World
It’s odd that the State Department didn’t make a public announcement when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed a new envoy this week to represent the United States among Muslims. The appointment of Kashmir-born U.S. diplomat Farah Pandith follows up on President Obama’s Cairo speech.
As a reporter noted in Thursday’s State Department media briefing, it would seem to make sense that Muslims be notified. Curious exchange:
QUESTION: Has the Secretary appointed a special representative for Muslim communities?
MR. KELLY: Yes.
QUESTION: When was this?
MR. KELLY: This was – you know, she’s actually a friend of mine. I worked with her very closely in the European Bureau, Farah Pandith. She was a special advisor for outreach to Muslim communities in Europe. The Secretary has appointed her to more of a global role. And I think it’d be a good idea for her to come down here and talk to you guys about her role.
QUESTION: Could you put something out in the meantime about her appointment and –
MR. KELLY: Sure. Yeah, absolutely.
QUESTION: Just out of curiosity, is she a Muslim?
MR. KELLY: You know, I can’t answer that question.
QUESTION: You’re friends and you don’t know?
MR. KELLY: Sorry?
QUESTION: You’re friends and you don’t know? (Laughter.)
MR. KELLY: I haven’t asked her her religious affiliation.
Yes, Dave. I’m sorry. You have a follow-up?
QUESTION: When was this appointment made?
MR. KELLY: I believe it was made two days ago.
QUESTION: It was recent?
MR. KELLY: Yeah, it was either yesterday or the day before.
QUESTION: Is there some reason you guys didn’t announce it?
MR. KELLY: Well, there was an announcement, and I know it was sent out to the State Department community. But we will put it out more broadly.
QUESTION: That might be interesting for – just for a broader Muslim community other than those in the State Department, you know.
MR. KELLY: Fair point. Yes.