Bush to Name Envoy to Islamic Conference

June 27, 2007

Author: Ben Feller

Source: SFGate.com

Wire Service: AP


President Bush announced Wednesday he will establish an envoy to a coalition of Muslim countries, with hopes of bolstering ties to the Islamic world and improving the image of the United States.

Bush's special envoy, who has not yet been named, will be a liaison to The Organization of the Islamic Conference. The intergovernmental organization, representing more than 50 Islamic states, promotes Muslim solidarity in social and political affairs.

"Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states, and will share with them America's views and values," Bush said in a ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of the Islamic Center, a mosque and cultural center in Washington.

"This is an opportunity for Americans to demonstrate to Muslim communities our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship," Bush said.

The United States has never before had a diplomat dedicated to dealing with The Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC. The establishment of a U.S. envoy comes as the plodding war in Iraq has fanned anti-American sentiment across the Muslim world.

The OIC was created in 1969 in response to an arson attack on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. It now has 57 members and is the second-largest international organization in the world, after the United Nations.