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Published:June 17th, 2006 12:52 EST
U,S. Muslim Delegation Travels to Europe

U,S. Muslim Delegation Travels to Europe

By Ashley Marinaccio

On June 17, 2006 four United States Muslim community leaders will be embarking on a European excursion to meet other Muslims in Germany, Netherlands and Denmark as part of a new initiative by the US Department of State called Citizen Dialogue. According to the State Department’s Heidi Fincken, “The five-day program is an effort to mobilize and amplify the voices of U.S. Muslims and Arab Americans, to encourage a cross-cultural dialogue and to advance diplomacy. The delegates will serve as a bridge between the Muslim world and the United States.”

The United States delegation members include Farah Pandith, director of Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council of the White House; Talal Eid, an imam formerly in charge of the Islamic Center of New England; Yahya Basha, physician and president of Basha Diagnostics and Mehdi Alhassani, the son of Iraqi immigrants and former President of George Washington University’s Muslim Students Association in DC.

Alhassani tells State Department officials that he feels these dialogues are an opportunity for him and other American Muslims to assume and active role in dispelling myths about the United States and of working towards the goal of a peaceful and free
society.

Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes established the Citizen Dialogue program in 2005 after a request from European Muslims to meet with American Muslims during a trip to Germany. The Citizen Dialogue program organizes forums so that American Muslims have the opportunity to meet with European Muslims and present a genuine view of their experiences living in America. Secretary Hughes plans on organizing future trips to introduce US Muslim delegations to Muslims in the Middle East, South Central Asia and Asian-Pacific regions.

 

Source:  U.S. Dept of State