Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Slandered I Online Edition

US warms up to Muslims at dinner

Published on
By Ally Jamah 
US Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger has announced measures aimed at boosting US relations with Muslims in Kenya after significant strains in the past.
The envoy discussed details of a programme in which outreach teams from the US embassy will hold public meetings in Coast Province to discuss US policies towards Muslims.
The meetings — to be held every three months — will also discuss other issues of interest, including visa application processes and education opportunities in the US.
coastal issues
"This Coast outreach programme is led by one of our new officers at the embassy. We will also dedicate a website to coastal issues that touch on members of the Muslim community," he said.
The envoy spoke when he hosted more than 300 Muslims at his residence during an iftaar dinner to break the Ramadhan fast.
The dinner in Nairobi coincided with a similar one in Washington DC hosted by President Barack Obama in the White House, where he dined with Muslim leaders.
"Ramadhan reminds us of the principles we hold in common and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings," said Mr Obama.
The envoy added the US would expand support for anti-drug trafficking efforts as well as rehabilitation.
He urged the Government to integrate marginalised Muslim communities in social, economic and political life of the nation.
"Achieving that is part of the broader effort to bring fundamental change in Kenya through implementation of the reform agenda," he said.
Ranneberger said the US had strengthened partnership with Muslims in Kenya through scholarships to disadvantaged students, supporting the annual Lamu Cultural Festival and boosting exchange programmes.

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