Rick Perry's Jihad Problem

Rick Perry is woefully unfit to be president of the United States, but not because he couldn't remember a key element of his own program during a recent debate, or because he gave a speech while possibly drunk.  Rick Perry is woefully unfit to be president of the United States because he is a tool of Grover Norquist, the man who may be more responsible than anyone else for enabling Muslim Brotherhood access to the highest levels of power in the U.S.

While it is hard for any Republican candidate to avoid Norquist altogether, so all-pervasive is his influence and power, Norquist is clearly much closer to Perry than to other candidates.  Perry and Grover Norquist held a joint press conference in March 2011.  Perry appeared at a fundraiser for Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform group.  Also, Norquist actively campaigned for Perry back in 2009.  Their association is longstanding: Perry was investigated by the Texas Ethics Commission in 2004 for allegations that the governor illegally used campaign money to finance a trip to the Bahamas.  The point here is not the allegations, but the fact that along on the Bahamas trip at his own expense was Grover Norquist.  Perry and Norquist are clearly not just casual acquaintances.

Which other candidates have fundraised for Norquist?  Which have vacationed with him?

Then there is the whole business of the Perry/Aga Khan curriculum on Islam for Texas schools, a complete whitewash of Islam and jihad that was initiated and officially sanctioned by Perry himself.  The Perry campaign obviously realized how damaging the curriculum could have been to their man's chances, and so deleted it not only from the web, but also from the Google cache.  All the while, Perry's attack dogs on the web energetically spread misinformation and disinformation about the curriculum, while smearing those who called attention to the problems with it.

The Perry love affair was a comedy.  Some of the stalwart voices who had initially sounded the alarm about Norquist and his baneful influence within the Republican Party suddenly discovered that hey, an association with Grover really isn't that bad a thing, and everybody does it, so what's the big deal?  Others who profess to be anti-sharia decided that Perry's sponsoring a whitewashed Islam curriculum was just fine, since his partner in doing so was the Aga Khan, a "moderate."

The Perry onslaught became particularly virulent when individuals and websites with a reputation for intellectual and journalistic rigor uncritically repeated to large audiences the falsehoods that were being spread about the curriculum.  These falsehoods originated with an obscure blogger named David Stein, who falsely claimed that one teacher's lesson plan, completed for an assignment in the teacher training program for the Perry/Aga Khan curriculum, was the official curriculum itself.  Since this teacher, Ronald Wiltse, had completed a reasonably good lesson plan, this led many to claim -- again, falsely -- that there wasn't anything wrong with the curriculum at all.

Yet what was most striking about the rapid spread of these false claims was their origin.  David Stein's blog, CounterContempt.com, in June 2011, just before the Perry firestorm, had all of 179 visitors all month.  Yet somehow blogs with tens of thousands more visitors daily found Stein's false claims about the curriculum and spread them far and wide in defense of Perry.  The Iranian-American writer Amil Imani published a piece, "Governor Perry's Islam Connection," which retailed the false information about the Perry/Aga Khan curriculum on Islam for Texas schools that Stein originated.  Imani relied for his information on the curriculum on a piece by Alana Goodman at Commentary.  Goodman in turn relied on David Stein.

Others relied on Stein as well.  Some conservative bloggers, including erstwhile friends and allies, responded to Perry's candidacy with cult-like devotion, invoked Stein's false claims, and asked me to delink them and denounced me because I dared question their god.  One anti-jihad writer of some reputation for clear thinking about the reality of jihadist teachings and tendencies across the various Islamic sects suddenly discovered, in support of Imani and Stein, an obscure historian from the 1930s whose statements supposedly proved that the misleading and politically correct Perry Islamic curriculum for Texas schools was perfectly fine.

It was remarkable testimony to the power, as well as the anxiety, of the Perry faithful that David Stein's obscure blog, with no readership, no history, and no reputation for credibility, could publish a false claim about the curriculum that so many big blogs would be ready immediately to publicize, while publishing the most outlandish charges against those of us who published the real curriculum.

How the big conservative blogs and even Commentary all found David Stein's tiny blog has never been explained.

Nonetheless, all the Perry camp's chicanery appears to be for naught.  Perry will probably never be president, and that's a good thing.  If, however, his campaign does revive and he surges again in the polls, I hope that his followers will behave with more integrity.  But I won't be holding my breath.

Robert Spencer is director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad, as well as Stealth Jihad, The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran, and other books.

Rick Perry is woefully unfit to be president of the United States, but not because he couldn't remember a key element of his own program during a recent debate, or because he gave a speech while possibly drunk.  Rick Perry is woefully unfit to be president of the United States because he is a tool of Grover Norquist, the man who may be more responsible than anyone else for enabling Muslim Brotherhood access to the highest levels of power in the U.S.

While it is hard for any Republican candidate to avoid Norquist altogether, so all-pervasive is his influence and power, Norquist is clearly much closer to Perry than to other candidates.  Perry and Grover Norquist held a joint press conference in March 2011.  Perry appeared at a fundraiser for Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform group.  Also, Norquist actively campaigned for Perry back in 2009.  Their association is longstanding: Perry was investigated by the Texas Ethics Commission in 2004 for allegations that the governor illegally used campaign money to finance a trip to the Bahamas.  The point here is not the allegations, but the fact that along on the Bahamas trip at his own expense was Grover Norquist.  Perry and Norquist are clearly not just casual acquaintances.

Which other candidates have fundraised for Norquist?  Which have vacationed with him?

Then there is the whole business of the Perry/Aga Khan curriculum on Islam for Texas schools, a complete whitewash of Islam and jihad that was initiated and officially sanctioned by Perry himself.  The Perry campaign obviously realized how damaging the curriculum could have been to their man's chances, and so deleted it not only from the web, but also from the Google cache.  All the while, Perry's attack dogs on the web energetically spread misinformation and disinformation about the curriculum, while smearing those who called attention to the problems with it.

The Perry love affair was a comedy.  Some of the stalwart voices who had initially sounded the alarm about Norquist and his baneful influence within the Republican Party suddenly discovered that hey, an association with Grover really isn't that bad a thing, and everybody does it, so what's the big deal?  Others who profess to be anti-sharia decided that Perry's sponsoring a whitewashed Islam curriculum was just fine, since his partner in doing so was the Aga Khan, a "moderate."

The Perry onslaught became particularly virulent when individuals and websites with a reputation for intellectual and journalistic rigor uncritically repeated to large audiences the falsehoods that were being spread about the curriculum.  These falsehoods originated with an obscure blogger named David Stein, who falsely claimed that one teacher's lesson plan, completed for an assignment in the teacher training program for the Perry/Aga Khan curriculum, was the official curriculum itself.  Since this teacher, Ronald Wiltse, had completed a reasonably good lesson plan, this led many to claim -- again, falsely -- that there wasn't anything wrong with the curriculum at all.

Yet what was most striking about the rapid spread of these false claims was their origin.  David Stein's blog, CounterContempt.com, in June 2011, just before the Perry firestorm, had all of 179 visitors all month.  Yet somehow blogs with tens of thousands more visitors daily found Stein's false claims about the curriculum and spread them far and wide in defense of Perry.  The Iranian-American writer Amil Imani published a piece, "Governor Perry's Islam Connection," which retailed the false information about the Perry/Aga Khan curriculum on Islam for Texas schools that Stein originated.  Imani relied for his information on the curriculum on a piece by Alana Goodman at Commentary.  Goodman in turn relied on David Stein.

Others relied on Stein as well.  Some conservative bloggers, including erstwhile friends and allies, responded to Perry's candidacy with cult-like devotion, invoked Stein's false claims, and asked me to delink them and denounced me because I dared question their god.  One anti-jihad writer of some reputation for clear thinking about the reality of jihadist teachings and tendencies across the various Islamic sects suddenly discovered, in support of Imani and Stein, an obscure historian from the 1930s whose statements supposedly proved that the misleading and politically correct Perry Islamic curriculum for Texas schools was perfectly fine.

It was remarkable testimony to the power, as well as the anxiety, of the Perry faithful that David Stein's obscure blog, with no readership, no history, and no reputation for credibility, could publish a false claim about the curriculum that so many big blogs would be ready immediately to publicize, while publishing the most outlandish charges against those of us who published the real curriculum.

How the big conservative blogs and even Commentary all found David Stein's tiny blog has never been explained.

Nonetheless, all the Perry camp's chicanery appears to be for naught.  Perry will probably never be president, and that's a good thing.  If, however, his campaign does revive and he surges again in the polls, I hope that his followers will behave with more integrity.  But I won't be holding my breath.

Robert Spencer is director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad, as well as Stealth Jihad, The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran, and other books.