Muslim Communities Outreach: A Conversation with Farah Pandith
GMF Brussels hosted thirty members of the Young Transatlantic Network (YTN) for a lunchtime discussion with Farah Pandith, U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities, on Tuesday June 19.
In a frank and open manner, Pandith provided an overview of the current U.S. administration’s motivation behind creating her position, and what its vision for “engagement” with Muslims around the globe means in practice. Pandith explained why her work focuses on people under the age of 30, how she utilizes social media to achieve her goals, but also the particular challenges that our increasingly connected and digitalized communities can pose. One bigoted comment toward Muslims can reach even the most remote communities and, unfortunately, be interpreted as representative of all American or Western views. On a more positive note, Pandith underscored the important role that grassroot initiatives play in strengthening understanding and cooperation, stressing that every YTN member present has the capacity to contribute.
This highly interactive session offered young professionals the chance to discuss the vast diversity of Muslim communities worldwide, the greatest challenge facing communities in the United States and Europe in particular, but also more general issues of youth opportunity and best engagement practices in the Information Age.