Dave Stein at CounterContempt purports to refute the information Pamela Geller has provided about Rick Perry's questionable associations. It would be reassuring if he had actually proven Perry to be clear of suspicion in these areas, but unfortunately that is not the case.
1. The curriculum.
Stein contends that the Atlas Shrugs reader who provided information about the Texas curriculum about Islam that the Aga Khan Foundation developed "was quoting from the abstracts (summaries) of the sessions that the teachers who volunteer for the Muslim Histories and Culture Project (MHCP) attend," and not from the curriculum itself. He assures us that a "a 60-something-year-old world history teacher with a Master’s Degree" can "read books from various points of view and reach his own conclusions," and that "the training involved no pro-Islam proselytizing."
It is odd that the teacher sessions would involve whitewashing of Islamic teaching and of its historical record, but that the curriculum itself would not, and Stein doesn't explain how that happened. Nor does he explain why we should trust his 60-something-year-old world history teacher. And even if his world history teacher is extremely knowledgeable about Islam, the material presented at Atlas Shrugs did not involve proselytizing, which he assures us is not happening, but whitewashing, which he does not address. And while I would love to take his word for it, arguments from authority are the weakest of all arguments, and he ultimately presents nothing to assure anyone that the questionable material in the teacher sessions is not making its way into the classroom. After all, what are the teacher sessions for, if not to train the teachers on how to present the material in the classroom?
He also says that there was nothing in the seminar abstracts "that even remotely qualifies as pro-Sharia." Yet the material we do see presents Muhammad as a benign moral teacher, saying nothing about his teachings of hatred, warfare and subjugation, and also whitewashes the oppressive history of Muslim Spain, and other matters. To dismiss concern about this by saying it's not "pro-Sharia" is too narrow. The heavily slanted and wholly positive view of Islam that Islamic supremacist groups have insinuated into textbooks and curricula fosters ignorance of the nature of the jihad threat and complacency about it, and provides a basis for proselytization from other materials. Ignore or minimize this at your own risk.
2. The Aga Khan and the Ismailis.
Stein says that "if Robert Spencer – whose entire raison d’être is investigating and tracking Islamists – didn’t know about these 'new facts' until last week, well…certainly Rick Perry can be excused for not knowing them as well." No, he can't. I am not entering into partnership with the Aga Khan. If I were, I would certainly vet him thoroughly first, and Perry should have. As far as not knowing about these issues, I wish I could keep up with all the violent and stealthy jihad activity going on in the world, but there is just too much of it, and the purchase of a tainted bank and investment in a tainted regime by the Aga Khan is simply not something that is going to become an issue until someone like Rick Perry becomes a viable presidential candidate, and everyone starts rushing to declare him the perfect candidate without properly vetting him. Perry should have vetted the Aga Khan, and we must vet Rick Perry.
3. The Habib Bank.
Stein points out that "the Aga Khan Foundation was not part-owner of Habib Bank until two years after the murder of Daniel Pearl," and dismisses all concern about it accordingly, even though the bank is in Pakistan, a country Stein himself terms "about as loyal and trustworthy an ally as a pet scorpion." Does Stein have information to the effect that the Aga Khan dismissed everyone who had been with the bank before he bought it, and thoroughly cleansed it of all al-Qaeda ties? Would such a thing even be possible to do in Pakistan?
4. The Aga Khan's investments in Syria.
Regarding the Aga Khan's investments in Syria, Stein contends that "'General Moustapha Sharba' accusation is found only on the 'everything but the kitchen sink' conspiracy-theory site of Mark Mitchell." Actually there is a picture of Sharba with Ismaili leaders on an Ismaili website. Why doesn't Stein mention that?
Then he dismisses the Aga Khan investments in Syria by pointing out that the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) did humanitarian work in countries ruled by tyrannical regimes, and challenges Pamela Geller to show that the Aga Khan money went to terrorist activity. However, the fact that one group does a foolish thing doesn't excuse someone else for doing the same foolish thing. In any case, the JDC was not endorsing the Ceaucescu regime by giving that aid; however, the Aga Khan worked directly with the Assad regime. Aiding oppressed people in spite of their regime is not the same thing as working with that regime, thereby freeing it up to spend its own funds on terrorist or other nefarious activity. Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism. If that means anything at all, no one should be investing there.
Stein points out that Norquist is ubiquitous and powerful. Granted. But Perry and Norquist are very close. Perry has raised funds for Norquist. They have vacationed together. Until I see Bachmann, West, and the others Stein mentioned doing the same thing, I will continue to raise questions about Perry's closeness to Norquist.