Governor Perry’s Muslim blind spot

Tom Tancredo Former Congressman
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At last week’s presidential debate in Florida, Rick Perry said something that made the audience gasp in disbelief. He said critics of in-state college tuition for illegal aliens “have no heart.” Welcome to Compassionate Conservatism 2.0.

The Perry tactic of debate by slander was an eye-opener for many conservatives, and it probably contributed to his poor showing in the Florida straw poll that followed the debate. Republicans are in no mood for a replay of the Bush amnesty plans.

Or Perry’s poor showing in the Florida straw poll might have something to do with a recent report about the highly touted “Texas jobs created by Perry’s pro-growth policies.” The Center for Immigration Studies has discovered that 81% of the 279,000 jobs created in Texas from 2007 to 2011 went to non-citizens, a high number of them illegal aliens.

What is not yet as widely known about Perry is that he extends his taxpayer-funded compassion not only to illegal aliens but also to Muslim groups seeking to whitewash the violent history of that religion. Perry endorsed and facilitated the adoption in Texas public schools of a pro-Muslim curriculum unit developed by Muslim clerics in Pakistan.

Perry’s connections to Muslim groups in Texas are well documented. A recent Christian Science Monitor story said, “Perry has attended a number of Ismaili events in Texas, brokered a few agreements between the state and Ismailis (including the legislation introducing Islamic curricula into Texas schools), and even laid the first brick at the groundbreaking ceremony for an Ismaili worship center in Plano in 2005.”

The Muslim Histories and Cultures (MHC) project was formalized in 2004 in a signed agreement between the University of Texas at Austin and Aga Khan University in Pakistan. The announcement of the MHC project credited Gov. Perry by name with being “instrumental” in its launch.

The agreement calls for an extensive program of bi-cultural teacher training funded jointly by both parties. More than 200 Texas teachers have been trained in the program, which is ongoing. The project’s curriculum units were initially available for viewing on the university’s website, but have since been scrubbed from the Internet. It appears Texas officials do not want the curriculum examined by Texas taxpayers.

Islam scholar Robert Spencer, head of Jihad Watch, examined the program and concluded, “The curriculum is a complete whitewash and it’s got the endorsement of Perry. It’s not going to give you any idea why people are waging jihad against the West — it’s only going to make you think that the real problem is ‘Islamophobia.'”

Perhaps Spencer exaggerates the curriculum’s bias? Examine it for yourself here.

Perry’s close ties to Muslim groups led the political blog Salon to headline a recent story: “Rick Perry: The pro-Sharia candidate?” Evidence in support of that theme comes from Gov. Perry’s refusal to support legislation sponsored by Texas Republican legislators to outlaw Sharia law in Texas.

Perry’s close alliances with pro-Islamic Republican activists like Grover Norquist give additional cause for concern. Norquist supports open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens and is well known in Washington, D.C. circles for his tireless efforts to build Republican bridges to pro-amnesty groups and to slander advocates of immigration enforcement as “racists.” Norquist also has close ties to the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose Houston chapter bragged in a recent newsletter that “Rick Perry’s relationship with Muslims may set him apart.” Precisely so, but not in a way that helped him with voters in the Florida straw poll.

What is it with Republican elites like Perry? Do they think Republican primary voters are stupid? Does Perry think he can talk tough in defending the Texas death penalty and then waffle on border security and taxpayer support for illegal alien children? Why does he think he can claim to be the “tea party candidate” while endorsing a whitewash of Islamic extremism in Texas schools?

Perry’s ties to Muslim groups is only one red flag among many. His poor performance in the Florida debate may well be the beginning of a meltdown.

Tom Tancredo represented Colorado’s 6th Congressional District from 1999 until 2009. While in Congress, he chaired the bipartisan, 100-plus-member Immigration Reform Caucus. He currently serves as chairman of Team America PAC and The Rocky Mountain Foundation.