State department PR head meets with U.S. Muslims


The newly appointed head of the administration's effort to present a positive image of America in the Islamic world met today with several representatives of the American Muslim community. Charlotte Beers, under secretary of state for public diplomacy, called for the meeting to open a dialogue with Muslims on issues related to how America is perceived in other countries, particularly those with Muslim majority populations.


Muslim participants introduced topics such as American foreign policies that do not serve our nation's long-term international interests, the ability and willingness of American Muslims to serve as a bridge of understanding to the Islamic world and the value of presenting the American Muslim community as an example of the successful application of religious
diversity.


"We appreciate Ms. Beers' efforts to reach out to the Muslim community and we offer our assistance in helping her present an accurate portrayal of the positive role Muslims play in this society," said Council on American Islamic-Relations (CAIR) Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, who attended today's meeting.


Hooper also told Beers that recent defamatory statements about Islam from conservative commentators undermine President Bush's repeated statements that the current campaign against terrorism is not a war on Islam. He cited
evangelist Franklin Graham's claim that Islam is an "evil and wicked religion."


Groups represented at the meeting included CAIR, North American Council for Muslim Women and Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights.