[singlepic id=15 w=320 h=240 float=left]The news of Governor Rick Perry jumping into the Republican nomination race for President, released a media tsunami that assaulted my brain. In no time at all, people came up with a long list of negatives about him. In a democracy, honest and thorough scrutiny of anyone’s records seeking a public office is not only the prerogative of the electorate, but it is its duty.

Being a lifelong critic of Islam, red flags popped up in my head at his purported cozy relationship with Islam and prompted me to look very closely at the governor’s record on this particular issue and at this specific time.

All kinds of worrisome thoughts flashed through my head. For one, I recalled another Republican Texas governor who became president and grew hoarse by so often shouting the mantra: Islam is a religion of peace. Is this another Texas Republican governor somehow beholden to oil interests, and the oil sheiks of Saudi Arabia? Is he really another for-purchase politician dispensing favors to the powers that be? In this case, are deep pocket Muslims hell-bent on furthering Islam by exploiting the vulnerabilities of democratic societies? Are his sympathies with Arabs and is he none too friendly toward Israel? I decided to strip my biases, look for facts and let them settle these issues.

The facts are that Perry has indeed had a cordial relationship with Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims live in the Lone Star State. And a governor is to serve every segment of the population in accordance with the law. I grant that. But, is Governor Perry being even-handed with Muslims, as he is expected to be, or is he favoring them?

He is reported to be particularly friendly with the Ismailis, a relatively small sect of Shi’a Islam. Is there something fishy about that? There are roughly twenty to thirty thousand Ismailis who live in Texas, a small percentage of the Muslims in the state. Besides, if Perry wanted to curry favor with Muslims, why would he hitch his wagon to the Ismailis? Ismailis are persecuted and castigated by major Islamic sects such as the Sunnis who rule Saudi Arabia and the Twelve Imamates Shi’a who run Iran.

The Ismailis are hardly a significant Islamic force, as compared to the other sects. They number around fifteen million in the world and are splintered into several sects. By far the largest of the Ismaili sects is the Nizari Ismaili with its followers adhering to dual loyalties. Their spiritual allegiance is to the Imam of the Time (Imam az Zaman) who is believed to be the interlocutor between Allah and the people. The position of the Imam az Zaman is hereditary from male to male, purportedly tracing back to Muhammad. Ismailis also owe allegiance to their countries as a fundamental obligation.

How militant and jihad-minded are the Ismailis, as compared to other sects of Islam? The Ismailis still hold to the notion of jihad, since the admonition is frequently stipulated in the Quran. They believe in what can be called “self-jihad,” battling the self to become a better Muslim, and “other-jihad,” which is warring against non-Muslims. Only the Imam az Zaman can proclaim the fatwa authorizing warring against others.  Since they are a small Muslim minority and widely scattered in many countries, they are less likely to be able to wage any kind of violent campaign against others. Yet, the idea of “other-jihad” is still within their belief make-up, since it is nearly a pillar of Islam. Furthermore, the notion of “self-jihad” can also be problematic, if the individual believer molds himself into a “pious” type by adopting the numerous anti Non-Muslims provisions of the Quran.

Any and all sects of Islam operate on the basis of the Quran and its various derivations that one and all are inimical to liberty and are violence prone. In fairness to the Ismailis, it must be granted that they are less combative and Ummahist (international community of Islam) than other sects of Islam.

It is a fact that Perry, following the practice of a long line of other politicians such as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late President John F. Kennedy, built a cordial relationship with the Aga Khan (Imam az Zaman) of the Ismailis.

Although Perry’s cordial relationship with the Ismailis is indeed true, it hardly warrants alarm. What is more disturbing is the claim, nearly all of it originating from one source, that Governor Perry is supported by CAIR.

Facts show the contrary.  There are reports that CAIR, the Islamist organization, was upset for not being invited to Perry’s Response prayer event in Houston. CAIR has teamed up with the ACLU protesting the exclusion.

Another line of argument implying Perry’s Islamic leanings, if not an out and out supporter of it, pertains to inclusion of Islam in the state’s educational curriculum. I looked closely into that claim, because it is indeed a critical juncture where young minds can indeed be influenced.

The nuggets of the Muslim history curriculum Perry helped coordinate in Texas are summarized below.  It says:
1-Countries of Western Civilization have secular governments, which means great toleration of cultural and religious differences.
2-Countries of Islamic Civilization for the most part either have religiously dominated governments or demands to make them more religious, which means less toleration of cultural and religious differences.
3-Muslims often lack respect for Western traditions and points of view. The Muslim relationship to the West is colored by the belief that Western beliefs [whether Christian or atheist] are defective and therefore inferior to Islam.

No matter how I tried, I couldn’t reach the conclusion that this inclusion promotes Islam or it is pro-Sharia. It seems that the mere fact that Islam is included in the curriculum represents supporting it.
And with regards to the concern that the education curriculum Perry promoted is pro-Arab and against Israel, the evidence is exactly the opposite. The lesson on Israel reads:

“Since the end of World War One Palestine had been under the control of Great Britain, who at first welcomed the hardworking Jewish settlers. They made the most of the harsh conditions, bringing economic success to an area that had for a very long time been poor. Arab natives also welcomed the newcomers. But as the number of Jewish settlers increased and their economic success contrasted sharply with the economic backwardness of the Palestinian Arabs, the Arab attitude began to change.

Immediately, all its Arab neighbors declared war on Israel. As a result of this war, the territory of Israel expanded somewhat, and many Arab citizens of Israel fled to a small corner of Israel called the Gaza Strip. The Arab states refused to admit these refugees, preferring them to stay there as a testimony to the evil of the Jewish state. They are still there. These Arabs began calling themselves Palestinians and demanding a state of their own.”

The bubbe meises are flying Rick Perry’s way fast and furious and from all directions. Here  Alana Goodman’s commentary bats a big one down.

And Perry’s stance on other Islam issues speaks for itself. When Perry was questioned about building a mosque near ground-zero in New York, for instance, he said, “To build a mosque near Ground Zero would be insensitive to the victims and families of 9/11 and would make the healing process much more difficult for everyone that was touched by this tragedy. I’m a big believer in freedom of religion but believe it would be best for all involved to put the facility elsewhere. However, zoning is a local responsibility and as a staunch supporter of the 10th Amendment, I do not think the federal government should take steps to intercede or overrule the wishes of local residents. The citizens of New York City will decide the fate of this building.”

What about Perry’s support for Israel? After a trip to the area in 2007, the governor supported Texas’ divestment from companies that do business with Iran, a main supporter of Hamas. Also, the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce was created to help launch future commercial interests and solidify the strong business and cultural connections between Texas and Israel.

Governor Rick Perry was awarded the Defender of Jerusalem 2009 award during his trip when he also met with top Israeli political and academic leaders.

Unless someone can come up with solid evidence to the contrary, I feel relieved that Governor Perry is not an Islamophile, he is not even an Islamic apologist, and he can be entrusted with the responsibility of guarding our nation’s priceless heritage of liberty against the assaults of Islamic fascism.

Amil Imani is the author of a new book “Operation Persian Gulf.” Get your copy today.

2011-09-01 02:47:44
Comments List
Thanks Amil...I know I can trust your investigative abilities on this.
Thank you so much for a well written, easy to understand article on this subject. Keep up the good work!
This has been a troubling issue for me as I am interested in supporting Gov. Perry.
There is so much false information being floated around it is sometimes difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Thank you for your clarification of this issue.
In my opinion, this article debunks any negatives about Gov. Perry and any Islam connection.
Conservatives are always looking for the next Ronald Reagan -- never more than now. The existential threat that Obama poses to our nation does not give us the luxury of another John McCain. We need someone who will blow Obama away in 2012. The business of unseating Obama is truly a matter of national survival. I humbly submit that Rick Perry is our latter day Reagan.
Perry's heavy involvement with social issues and his immigration politics are a little too reminiscent of the last Texas governor in the White House. I would need to know a lot more about him. What is the Tea Party read on Perry?
Perry is also very charismatic and is an excellent speaker. He does not need a teleprompter like Obama. He would look and sound great standing next to Obama in a debate. And Texas under Perry is doing the best in the nation in the economy. Businesses are moving to Texas right and left. How can you question that?
We will never find a perfect candidate and anyone who claims they could never support Perry (or any other republican) makes the assumption that they would support Obama if they don’t get their way. We need to shake off that presumption, as Rush points out, Elmer Fudd (R) should be able to beat Obama.

Perry can definitely get the nomination and could easily beat Obama; that is the overriding facts. Like any public service individual, especially with a long track record, some of it as a democrat, a person will have made decisions that don’t appeal to everyone on either side of the isle. We need to shake off the nit-picking and envision the end results.

Will Perry do the following in the field of foreign affairs? Manage the US military in the best interest of America? Reestablish respect for America in the world? Stop supporting Islamic terrorism through the brotherhood? Respect Israel’s right to exist? Support our true allies and instill fear in our enemies? Protect our borders from daily
foreign invasions? Protect America from the intrusion of the UN and its “new world order”? Appoint responsible people in the thousands of federal positions now controlled by Obama: (State, Justice, Homeland Sec and the myriad judgeships).

I believe that Perry would make those decisions in the best interest of America and any nits that could be picked in his past would not deter him from having the best interest of America always in the forefront. The simple fact is that Perry could beat Obama and he would immediately reverse everything the bamster has inflicted on this country both foreign and domestic
A large group of us Texans feel that if this country is going to be saved it will be by Governors, not by any elected official in Washington. The elected government there does not seem to have the will or the power to control the "permanent" government.

Texas still has some degree of freedom and, thanks to the oil industry, a good economy. We feel we are under assault and long for a Governor who will go head to head against Washington. We don't mean taking some agency to Federal Court, we mean a real stand. Like telling the EPA to get the hell out of Texas and stay out. Like mobilizing our own troops and defending our own borders. Nullification, nothing less. Perry has at times come close to sounding like he will stand up but then nothing happens and the rot continues.

His timidity may be justified, mass movements, once started, will run their course and the consequences can be horrendous. I think this fear of a mass movement is the reason for the absolute paranoia on the part of both Democrat and Republican leadership about the "Tea Party". I think he is afraid to inflame passions and set loose something that he can't control. Texas is a powder keg waiting for a match, it would not take much to start a rip-roaring secession movement here.
If he were an Islamophile, Islamic apologist, or anti-Israel, that would be the only reason to oppose him, but I am getting tired of all these other alleged negatives.