Don't be deceived. Despite his attendance at not one, but two extremely not-Muslim Christian churches, as well as his constant cavorting with the New Apostolic Reformation, Rick Perry is basically Osama bin Laden in cowboy drag.
Or something like that, according to the grand dame of anti-Muslim blogging, Pamela Geller. See, this month she got a look at a cheeky little Salon story titled "Rick Perry: The Pro-Sharia Candidate?" and flipped the fuck out, which is almost certainly what the story's author, Justin Elliott, hoped she'd do.
In 2002, then-rookie Governor Perry thought it would be a good idea to make his public schools' curricula a little more multicultural. In particular, he seems to have thought the children of Texas could stand to learn a little about the Muslim world. (In 2002! Imagine!) Gov. Perry was then in contact with the Aga Khan IV, His Holy Highness Shah Karim al-Hussayni, the head of the Nizari branch of Ismaili Shi'a Islam. Perry and the Aga Khan talked education. Some Texas school officials got involved, meetings were held, documents were exchanged, and a curriculum emerged. Since then, Texas and the Aga Khan have collaborated in other ways, too.
To register the appropriate level of horror at this collaboration, you must first understand the hidden evil that is the Nizari branch of Ismaili Shi'a Islam. Whereas members of more honorable Islamic sects will come right out and tell you how much they hate America, Americans, and women who know how to read, the Nizari have taken the art of taqiyya — religiously-motivated lying — to undreamt-of holy heights. Look at their website. See how their girlfolk go to schools. See how their men wear suits. See how they celebrate young, guitar-playing, non-hijab wearing Muslim girls for singing secular pop songs. See how they teach their young people to play chess with children of other faiths. This is an extraordinary pantomime of moderation and cosmopolitanism. Could it be that these fiends are so deep undercover that they don't even know they hate us?
Geller accused those in sympathy with Perry's collaboration with the Aga Khan of supporting the "propoganda of unabashed Islamic supremacists," and heavily quoted a reader named Dave, who said he'd looked into the multi-culti Islam-teaching Texan curriculum and learned horrible things. He quoted from the curriculum, or claimed to, and summarized what he'd quoted. "A thorough whitewashing of the nature and history of Islam that ignores Islam's bloody history while simultaneously portraying the Crusades as a bloody assault on Islamic soil by Christians," and "a presentation of the Koran and Muhammad that can only be described as open proselytization for Islam in public schools." Dave concluded:
I'm willing to grant Gov. Perry the benefit of the doubt and believe that his actions are the product of naiveté and ignorance, rather than actual hostility to the West. However, his ignorance is inexcusable, and the damage he has done is immense. If Barack Obama had imposed such a curriculum on schools we'd be calling for his impeachment. Therefore it is unconscionable to look the other way when it comes to Perry. In my opinion, not only should Perry not be President, he should be impeached from the Texas governorship.
This kind of thing gets the anti-Muslim crowd all riled up. But nobody noticed that a crafty anti-jihadi websleuth named David Stein was already examining the evidence against Perry, and thrashing it.
It turns out that Geller-lover Dave wasn't quoting from any Texan curricula, but from the abstracts of workshops attended by Texan teachers before any curriculum had been written at all. The actual curriculum being taught in Texas is anti-sharia, pro-Western, and pro-Zionist, and written by a Christian Zionist named David Wiltse.
Geller, displaying the humility and intellectual flexibility you'd expect from a woman who lives to fight dogmatism, neither acknowledged her mistake nor apologized. She bit down harder. Instead she called David Stein a "no-name asshat" and alleged that the Aga Khan's foundation is part-owner of a Syrian bank that allegedly failed to freeze a terrorist's bank accounts — as Rick Perry should have damn well known! Except, as Stein subsequently pointed out, the Aga Khan's foundation didn't buy its shares of the bank until years after the terrorist incident. But! said Geller, what about Rick Perry's secret links to that famed jihad-enabler, Grover Norquist? Which is an expression of craziness so self-evident that it needs no refutation.
If this scuffle from the anti-jihadis proves anything, it's that certain elements of American society are so cranked up on paranoia that they can now literally see treachery anywhere. Which is a good kind of proof to have. Maybe it'll prompt some of the sane portions of the anti-jihadi movement to realize they've got no friends in people like Pamela Geller — that some enemies-of-your-enemies are so indiscriminate with their wrath that they can't be friends with anyone.
[Images of Pam Geller and Rick Perry via AP]