The back-and-forth within the anti-sharia community about whether or not Rick Perry is a “fifth columnist” candidate continued this week, with Center for Security Policy’s Dave Reaboi and Ace of Spades both coming to Perry’s defense.
At Counter Contempt, David Stein also analyzed the “controversial” Muslim history curriculum Perry helped coordinate in Texas, and skewered the idea that it’s a pro-Sharia program. You can comb over the whole plan here, but here are a few excerpts:
1. Countries of Western Civilization have secular governments, which means great toleration of cultural and religious differences.
2. Countries of Islamic Civilization for the most part either have religiously dominated governments or demands to make them more religious, which mean less toleration of cultural and religious differences.
3. Muslims often lack respect for Western traditions and points of view. The Muslim relationship to the West is colored by the belief that Western beliefs [whether Christian or atheist] are defective and therefore inferior to Islam.
It’s hard to imagine how anyone could interpret that as “pro-Sharia.” But the real gem is the lesson on Israel, which sounds like it could have been lifted from a ZOA pamphlet:
Since the end of World War One Palestine had been under the control of Great Britain, who at first welcomed the hardworking Jewish settlers. They made the most of the harsh conditions, bringing economic success to an area that had for a very long time been poor. Arab natives also welcomed the newcomers. But as the number of Jewish settlers increased and their economic success contrasted sharply with the economic backwardness of the Palestinian Arabs, the Arab attitude began to change.
Immediately, all its Arab neighbors declared war on Israel. As a result of this war, the territory of Israel expanded somewhat, and many Arab citizens of Israel fled to a small corner of Israel called the Gaza Strip. The Arab states refused to admit these refugees, preferring them to stay there as a testimony to the evil of the Jewish state. They are still there. These Arabs began calling themselves Palestinians and demanding a state of their own.
Ace calls Stein’s post “the greatest rejoinder in the history of blogdom,” but predicts the lesson plan might actually open Perry up to charges of anti-Muslim bias from the left. I wouldn’t be surprised, but so far liberal bloggers have actually been pretty supportive of the curriculum. Salon’s Justin Elliott (whose original article on Perry sparked this whole debate) wrote that it “seems to be a sensible introduction to the Islamic world” — though it’s not clear whether he read the entire lesson plan or just a summary of it. Meanwhile, bloggers Pam Geller and Robert Spencer still seem to think Perry’s the candidate the Islamists have all been waiting for. Could we be heading to a point where Perry is accused of being both an Islamofascist sympathizer and an anti-Muslim bigot? And if so, can we just split the difference and call it a day?