President Barack Obama has invited Egypt’s newly elected Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, to visit the United States in September, an Egyptian official said on Sunday, reflecting the new ties Washington is cultivating with the region’s Islamists.
Washington, long wary of Islamists and an ally of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, shifted policy last year to open formal contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood, the group behind Mursi’s win. Mursi formally resigned from the group after his victory.
Mursi’s success at the polls mirrors the rising influence of Islamists in countries across the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of revolts and protests against autocratic rulers who have led the region for decades.
“President Obama extended an invitation to President Mursi to visit the United States when he attends the U.N. General Assembly in September,” Egyptian aide Yasser Ali said after Mursi met U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Cairo.