Obama envoy to visit India to engage with Muslims


Washington: Rashad Hussain, son of an Indian migrant couple from Bihar who is US Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, will travel to India Aug 1-9 to discuss Obama Administration’s initiatives on education, global health, entrepreneurship and countering violent extremism with Muslim leaders and academics.

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Son of an Indian migrant couple from Bihar, Hussain will visit Aligarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Patna, where he will meet with local university faculty and students, Muslim leaders, and government officials, the State Department announced Friday.

As special envoy Hussain, both a Quran scholar and an ardent North Carolina Tar Heels basketball fan, is charged with helping to bridge the cultural divide in US relations with Muslims inside and outside America’s borders as part of President Barack Obama’s new approach to engage the Islamic world. India has the world’s second largest Muslim population after Indonesia.

Hussain’s father, a mining engineer, moved from Bihar to Wyoming in the late 1960s. A few years later, during a visit to India, he married Hussain’s mother, now an obstetrician in Plano.

After the 2008 election, Hussain was recruited to the White House counsel’s office where he has worked on national security and new media issues, and helped inform the administration’s Muslim outreach efforts.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s chief foreign policy speech writer, sought Hussain’s counsel last year as he drafted the president’s Cairo address reaching out to Muslims.