The Trump administration, as part of a dual effort to counter both Iran and the Islamic State, should push for an “Islamic Reformation,” a State Department memo advised the White House last year.
The suggestion was ultimately not adopted as part of the National Security Strategy announced in December, but that a so-called reformation of Islam was up for discussion at the highest levels of the State Department and National Security Council underscores the extraordinary rise of a once-fringe, far-right approach to foreign policy. Were it to be adopted as official policy, it would mark a radical departure by directly inserting the U.S. government into a theological discussion that is carried out almost exclusively among anti-Muslim zealots.
“The goal against Iran and ISIS is to break each’s brand and Islamic extremism,” reads the document, which was obtained by The Intercept. “In seeking a public diplomacy means for undermining the ideological basis for supporting the current Iranian or ISIS structures, an emphasis on ‘Islamic Reformation’ should factor in heavily.”