Naomi Ragen writes, "In Nepal, a small mountainous country in the Himalayas, Muslims make up about 4% of the population. Hindus make up 80%. So of course the US government is reaching out to the Nepalese Muslims and only to the Muslims. Don't the vast majority of the Nepalese - who are 96% non-Muslim - count for anything? In what alternate universe are US policy makers living?"
From the Himalayan:
KATHMANDU: US Ambassador to Nepal Scott H DeLisi said his country was committed to further engagement with the Muslim community in Nepal for cementing mutual relations and interests. Addressing a special event organised by Madrasa Islamiya School in Ghantaghar today, DeLisi said, "I am delighted that we have begun to build this relationship and I look forward to expanding our outreach programme in the months and years ahead."
Earlier, the US Embassy had organised the outreach programme for the country's Muslim community in December 2009, reaching more than 3,000 individuals in 19 areas. Stating that such contact between Nepali and US communities was a must to better know each other, DeLisi said he had served in Pakistan with a predominantly Muslim population.
"I have seen the strengths and challenges of Muslim communities first hand. Through our outreach, I hope to learn more and expand mutual understanding and partnership with the Muslim community in Nepal," he mentioned.
The outreach campaign was organised in collaboration with the Teacher Educators' Society, Nepal (TESON) to support dialogue with local Muslim communities, with whom the US Embassy historically had limited contact.
The US envoy said, "Our goal is not only to tell you about the United States but also hear from you about your challenges here. We know that we should understand your concerns and your hopes if we are going to be effective partners."