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Cablegate: Srmc Pandith Engages Nigerian Muslim Community

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PP RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO
RUEHJS RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHPW RUEHRN RUEHROV
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHUJA #1890 2891446
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161446Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7237
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 2106
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ABUJA 001890

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/SRMC, AF/W, AND IIP/AF CBERGIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KISL NI
SUBJECT: SRMC PANDITH ENGAGES NIGERIAN MUSLIM COMMUNITY

1. (U) Summary: During her October 8-10 visit to Abuja and
Kano, Special Representative to Muslim Communities (SRMC)
Farah Pandith met Nigerian religious leaders, civil society
activists, and government officials to promote
person-to-person engagement with diverse Muslim communities.
Pandith observed grassroots activities and compiled a list of
programs that encourage building networks of like-minded
people and partnerships with a focus on the next generation
of Muslim leaders. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The Islamic Education Trust's (IET) Nuruddeen Lemu
shared with SRMC Pandith the curriculum developed for
secondary school levels and above, with modules on peaceful
coexistence, gender equity, Islamic law, and Islamic and
western culture, that are used at youth retreats. Delivery
of material is done via train-the-trainer methodology to
ensure concepts continue once sessions end. Lemu told the
SRMC his organization has been invited to deliver this
training in Australia, New Zealand, Qatar, Bahrain, Malaysia,
in Chicago, and elsewhere.

3. (SBU) After hearing more about President Obama's Cairo
speech, followed by the Secretary's visit to Nigeria, and
meeting SRMC Pandith, Abuja-based youth leader Ibrahim
Balogun promised to begin a conversation with other Nigerian
Muslim youth to counter both extremist ideology and the
misinterpretation of Islam. Just two days later, Balogun
started a Facebook page dedicated to open communication among
Muslim youth with mutual interests to promote respect for all.

4. (SBU) In multiple meetings, youth were eager to discuss
the value of communicating through popular music. The wide
popularity of Nigerian "Hip Hop" music, which is a blend of
styles from Nigeria, India and Saudi Arabia, contains
messages of family, peace, and coexistence, connecting people
from around the world. Further exploring communication media
in discussions, SRMC heard that Nigeria does not yet have
robust Internet access outside of Lagos and Abuja. However,
Nigeria does have widespread cell phone availability enabling
the use of SMS text messaging as a viable vehicle for rural
communication.

5. (U) SRMC Pandith conducted Voice of America (VOA Hausa)
and Freedom Radio interviews on FM radio (a primary means of
obtaining news and special interest programming throughout
northern Nigeria) that have been rebroadcast in English and
Hausa (the prominent language spoken in Nigeria's
predominantly Muslim North), repeating her message of mutual
respect multiple times. She also appeared in a feature story
in the October 16 edition of "Daily Trust" newspaper.

6. (U) Comment: Post looks forward to offering SRMC new
program proposals for training Muslim youth in leadership and
for vocational training to mitigate sky-high youth
unemployment levels in predominantly Muslim areas. End
Comment.

7. (U) SRMC Pandith did not have the opportunity to clear on
this cable prior to departing Nigeria.
SANDERS

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