U.S. prepares for Islamic governments
WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- The United States is preparing for the prospect of Islamic governments in Africa and the Middle East, and more religion in the region's politics, aides said.
The Obama administration last month ordered an internal assessment to distinguish ideological differences among the movements in the region that promote Islamic law in government, The Washington Post reported Friday.
"We shouldn't be afraid of Islam in the politics of these countries," one senior administration official said. "It's the behavior of political parties and governments that we will judge them on, not their relationship with Islam."
None of the recent popular uprisings has been overtly Islamist, Washington officials said, but there are indications the revolts could yield to religious influences.
The assessment, dated Feb. 16, examined the views of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida on global jihad, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the United States, Islam in politics, democracy and nationalism, among other topics, the Post said.
The report listed distinctions between the aspirations of the two organizations, suggesting the Brotherhood's mix of Islam and nationalism made it a different organization than al-Qaida, which views borders as roadblocks to restoring Islamic rule.
"If our policy can't distinguish between al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, we won't be able to adapt to this change," the senior administration official, speaking anonymously, told the Post. "We're also not going to allow ourselves to be driven by fear."