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There’s no doubt that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has made a massive national splash in recent weeks by calling for a large prayer and fasting rally in the Texas’ Reliant Stadium. The gathering garnered widespread support, as it should have, from a broad spectrum of evangelical Christians throughout America.
Even nominal Christians will admit that the United States now more than ever, deeply needs the church to pray. But while many Christians fully supported the call to pray and fast for our nation, many were also rightfully leery of Perry’s prominent involvement in the event, particularly in light of the fact that it only preceded his official announcement to run for president by a week. While evangelicals should no doubt be looking for a president with integrity, humility and a reliance on Jehovah God to guide this nation, we must also be extremely cautious of throwing our full support behind anyone simply because he makes a good public showing of his Christian faith.
And as the inevitable onslaught of public scrutiny begins, some of it will no doubt be pure demagoguery. But conservatives must be careful not to disregard every criticism offhand. As the primaries begin, conservatives must take the time to thoroughly vet all candidates to see who will present us not only with the best candidate to defeat Obama, but also the best person to lead the nation forward.
That said, right out of the chute, of cause for deep concern is an apparently close relationship Perry has fostered over the years with a Muslim leader know as “His Highness” Prince Shah Karim Al-Husayni, the Aga Khan IV.
Al-Husayni is the spiritual leader of the Shiite sect of Nizari Ismaili Muslims. Nizaris, a group with roughly 18 million adherents, believe that Al-Husayni is both the physical and spiritual descendant of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Nizaris refer to Al-Husayni with such grandiose titles as the ImÄm-I-Zaman (Imam of the Age) and “the Face of Allah.”
Nizaris are one of the more esoteric and mystical sects of Islam. Nizaris refer to Allah by unique and odd terms such as “the black light” and “the luminous night.” Though Nizaris believe that Allah is utterly unknowable, they believe that through mystical meditation, shadows of what is to come can be glimpsed. Nizaris are also known for being deeply committed to Islamic causes of social justice.
Besides being the spiritual leader of the millions of Nizari Muslims, Al-Husayni is also wildly rich. One report has placed his personal value at roughly $800 million, but he also controls a vast network of businesses, organizations and schools, including the Aga Khan Development Network, or AKDN, one of the largest “private development networks” in the world. The AKDN and its network of Islamic organizations and charities distribute well over half-a-billion dollars each year.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Perry met Al-Husayni while vacationing with his family in Paris in 2000.
In 2002, at a dinner in Houston hosted by Al-Husayni, Perry spoke glowingly of his new friend. Since this time, Perry has continued to attend various Nizari Ismaili Muslim events and by several accounts has become a close friend of Al-Husayni and the Nizari Muslim community.
According to Kate Shellnut, a blogger for the Houston Chronicle, “Perry even laid the first brick at the groundbreaking ceremony for an Ismaili worship center in Plano in 2005.”
According to Shellnut, even Mustafa Carroll, executive director for the radical Islamic group CAIR, has positive things to say about Perry’s relationship with portions of the Muslim community.
Perry spokesman Catherine Frazier confirmed Carroll’s claims, stating that Perry “has a good relationship with the Muslim community in Texas.”
Apparently, the Christian community is not the only religious group that Perry has courted with success.
While courting a voter block may be forgivable, what should concern conservatives are two cooperative agreements that Perry spearheaded between the state of Texas and Ismaili Nizari organizations in 2008 and 2009.
The first agreement in 2008 was a “wide-ranging” program designed to indoctrinate Texas children about Islam and Islamic culture. According to Salon.com, “Perry brokered a partnership between the University of Texas and Al-Husayni’s Aga Khan University in Pakistan for the purpose of expanding cooperation on programs including the Muslim Histories and Culture Project,” or MHCP. The purpose of the MHCP is to train high-school teachers on the positive aspects of Muslim history and culture.
Perry’s naive support for this program is disturbing, to say the least. At the signing ceremony, Perry stated, “I have supported this program from the very beginning, because we must bridge the gap of understanding between East and West if we ever hope to experience a future of peace and prosperity.”
In conjunction with the signing, Perry even requested the Texas A&M Aggie Corps of Cadets Ross Volunteer Company to do a sabre arch salute as part of a special ceremony for Al-Husayni arrival at the ceremony.
The glaring problem of course with this sentiment is that “bridges” normally go two ways. While Perry is expanding programs to teach American children about Islam, what is Al-Husayni doing about teaching Pakistani children about the glories of Christianity? Why is it that whenever these fabulously wealthy Muslim “philanthropists” ride into town to build bridges of understanding, it is always one-sided, always extolling the beauties of Islam?
The fact that Perry didn’t see right through, and even supported, this facade does not speak well to his ability to lead this nation forward.
Perry’s second agreement was made in 2009, which provided for cooperation between Texas and Al-Husayni’s organizations in the “fields of education, health sciences, natural disaster preparedness and recovery, culture and the environment.”
On the official Nizari Ismaili website, Perry was quoted as speaking glowingly of the need for Texas children to learn about the positive influence of Islam to Western culture.
Perry stated, “traditional Western education speaks little of the influence of Muslim scientists, scholars, throughout history, and for that matter the cultural treasures that stand today in testament to their wisdom.”
It should also be mentioned that one of the doctrines espoused by Ismaili Muslims is the doctrine of Taqiyya. In simple terms, the doctrine of Taqiyya allows Muslims to purposefully hide or lie about their true religious beliefs to “unbelievers” or even Muslims of different sects. Of course, it is doubtful that the children of Texas will learn anything of Taqiyya in their Perry-sponsored education concerning Islam.
Of course, while lying in the name of religion may seem like a foreign concept to most, it is the principle of “the ends justify the means” that underscores many aspects of the Islamic approach to win the West.
One can only hope that such is not the principle driving Gov. Perry’s campaign for the presidency.