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Cablegate: Sao Paulo Nominee for Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit

VZCZCXRO1343
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #0708 3431211
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091210Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0243
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 0052
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO

UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000708

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAID PREL SOCI
SUBJECT: Sao Paulo Nominee for Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit

REF: STATE 112468

1. Sao Paulo Brazil nominates Andre Luz Lara Mello to participate
in President Obama's summit for Young Muslim Entrepreneurs during
the first quarter of 2010 per State 112468.

2. Sao Paulo hosts Brazil's and South America's largest
concentration of Muslim communities. Most Brazilian Muslims are of
Lebanese descent and are successfully integrated into Brazil, a
country with a strong "melting pot" ethic. Andre Mello well
represents this tradition of the moderate Muslim committed to both
his faith and to the idea of respect between cultures. He is 32
years old and works as a journalist and media expert for the Muslim
Federation, the leading Muslim umbrella organization in Brazil.
The Federation is committed to a vision of moderate Islam and is
known for involving youth in many charitable activities that
benefit all Brazilians. As one example, the Federation runs a
private Muslim school in a marginal area of Sao Paulo that serves a
student body that is 60 percent non-Muslim. The Federation also
recently organized a reception for SRMC Farah Pandith during her
visit to Sao Paulo.

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3. In his work with the Federation, Andre Mello promotes the
organization's moderate vision of Islam through a variety of media,
including newspapers, magazines and television programs. His goal
is to counter the stereotype that Islam is inherently fanatical or
incompatible with other faiths. Mello graduated with a degree in
journalism from Anhembi Morumbi University. He has extensive media
experience, having worked in the Globo TV network (producing a
reality TV show entitled "Task Force" about police operations) as
well as editing and performing camera work for the network. He
also conceptualized and helped to produce a book, "The Mosques of
Sao Paulo," which was designed to both present Islam to Brazilians
and give them a summary of the Islamic faith. Mello lists his
English skills as intermediate. Poloff has spoken with him and he
could function quite well at a Washington-based conference.

4. Comment: Post's engagement with Sao Paulo's Muslim communities
is a work in progress. In general, these Muslim communities are
still fairly conservative, with many children entering family-owned
businesses. That said, community leaders are very cognizant of the
dangers of radicalism and organizations like the Muslim Federation
are working hard to promote a moderate vision of Islam. Post
believes that it could be important to represent South America's
Muslims at the President's planned summit. The tolerance practiced
here in Sao Paulo and the impressive range of general social works
sponsored by the Muslim Federation (aimed mainly at benefiting poor
Brazilians, most of whom are nominally Christian) could be an
excellent example for other Muslim communities, particularly Muslim
minority communities worldwide. For this reason, Post strongly
endorses Mr. Mello's candidacy for participation in the planned
Presidential event.

5. This nomination has been cleared by U.S. Embassy Brasilia.
White

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