Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller (who could be called Islamophobes or anti-jihadists, depending on your persepective) have been very critical of Rick Perry's association with the Aga Khan Foundation, which "represents Ismaili Muslims, who follow a moderate, peaceful interpretation of Islam." Rick Perry had made a deal with the Aga Khan to "help Texas teachers create classroom lesson plans about Islam." Online conservative magazine American Thinker, where I often contribute, has been host to a series of arguments surrounding this issue. First, Pamela Geller wrote an indictment of Perry for his associations. Then, Aymenn Jawadd al-Tamimi responded with an article titled "Smearing Perry on Jihad." Geller responded in kind with an article titled, "Smearing Geller on Perry." The exchange was rather interesting, but perhaps even more notable is the chord struck with readers, as the subject opened a rift between the magazine's conservative commenters: some found it a divisive distraction by a jihad-junkie, while others found it to be a relevant topic of conversation.
I was among the latter.
Then, Robert Spencer authored his own piece indicting not only Perry's associations with men like Grover Norquist, but particularly challenged blogger David Stein in his piece titled "Rick Perry's Jihad Problem." Spencer asserted that David Stein's blog is obscure and that he is spreading falsehoods. Stein retorts this morning with a scathing attack against Spencer titled "Rick Perry and Sharia, and Robert Spencer," touting his credentials and again defending Perry's actions as innocent and not tantamount to a subversive effort to introduce Sharia to Texas schools.
It would appear that Stein was misrepresented, as he appears to have more credibility than Spencer gives him. And I could not follow into a rabbit hole where Rick Perry is willfully enabling any "stealth jihad" efforts. But there is a question that I would ask the readers of Political Palaver to consider, however.
From the article:
“In 2008, Perry inked a deal with the Aga Khan Foundation to create the Muslim Histories and Culture Project (MHCP), the goal of which was to help Texas teachers create classroom lesson plans about Islam.”
Is this so incredibly innocent, as Stein suggests? Is this not a cause for alarm? Imagine the outcry if there was to be a detailed lesson plan built on the premise of educating children of the tenets of Christianity. “Separation of church and state!” they’d cry. Yet when educating our youth about misunderstood Islam, why is this all okay? Stein argues that it is voluntary… and from the educators’ perspective, sure, maybe it is. But for parents and children, it is not at all voluntary. I remember quite a ruckus being raised because a Sugarland, TX school had thought it prudent to hold an “Islam 101” mandatory seminar to educate all its students about Islam. Of course, it would be the PC approved version of Islam- no misogynistic overtones, no torturous penalties for infidelity, no divine call to jihad, etc.
I still take issue with this, and the fact that Perry has helped to enable it, as all Americans should. Providing our children with whitewashed PC history is not education- it’s indoctrination. Islam should be discussed as Christianity is discussed in classrooms: A guy named Jesus of Nazareth lived, was crucified by the Romans, and after His followers suffered hundreds of years of political persecution, the religion came to be a mainstay in the historical landscape. Islam should be taught appropriately- Muhammad lived, raised armies to conquer Arabia, and within 100 years his followers spread the faith by the sword- conquering, subjugating, and/or converting other cultures, making it a mainstay in the historical landscape.
So sure, let's talk about how Christianity helped shape the Inquisition, or Manifest Destiny that negatively impacted Native Americans. But if we are to be honest in educating our children, shouldn’t we be discussing, at the very least, how Islam helps to shape modern jihad, rather than lying to them by denying the association?
**Authors' note: I expressed this opinion more succinctly on the website. If offered a rebuttal, I will provide updates.