November 13, 2013 6:00 AM

State Dept. Muslim cleric confronts questions of loyalty, identity

With his trim beard, crisply ironed clothes and genteel demeanor, Mohamad Bashar Arafat hardly cuts a controversial figure. Yet his public appearances draw visceral reactions – from hearty welcomes to sneering disdain – depending on how the audience views a Muslim cleric who for a decade has worked with the U.S. State Department as a quiet, informal envoy to the Islamic world.

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