WASHINGTON - The United States has decided to resume formal contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a senior US official said on Wednesday, in a step that reflects the Islamist group's growing political weight but that is almost certain to upset Israel and its US backers.
"The political landscape in Egypt has changed, and is changing," said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It is in our interests to engage with all of the parties that are competing for parliament or the presidency."
The official sought to portray the shift as a subtle evolution rather than a dramatic change in Washington's stance toward the Brotherhood, a group founded in 1928 that seeks to promote its conservative vision of Islam in society [...]
There is no US legal prohibition against dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood itself, which long ago renounced violence as a means to achieve political change in Egypt and which is not regarded by Washington as a foreign terrorist organization.
That "conservative" vision is driven by the Brotherhood's motto:But other sympathetic groups, such as Hamas, which identifies the Brotherhood as its spiritual guide, have not disavowed violence against the state of Israel
Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
And although the Brotherhood pays lip service to non-violence when hobnobbing with Western officials and the media, its leaders continue to preach exterminatory hatred for Jews and homosexuals and fund Islamic terror groups dedicated to that mission.
Moreover, Hamas is not simply a "spiritual" protege of the Muslim Brotherhood, it is the Muslim Brotherhood.
UPDATE 9:05 AM: The native version of this story has now appeared on the Reuters website, authored by Arshad Mohammed and edited by disgraced former Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Alastair Macdonald.