To say that Justin Elliott of Salon.com has it out for Rick Perry is an understatement.
Last month I focused on Elliott’s fruitless attempt to paint Perry as a neo-confederate by association. Now Elliott is trying to paint Perry as, get this, both anti-Muslim and pro-Sharia, Rick Perry: The Pro-Sharia Candidate?.
For the supposed anti-Muslim part Elliott relies on the guilt by association, arguing that Perry has been “palling around with some radical evangelical Christian figures who are openly hostile to Islam.” For the supposed pro-Sharia part Elliot argues that Perry’s lrelationship with the Aga Khan:
Perry is a friend of the Aga Khan, the religious leader of the Ismailis, a sect of Shia Islam that claims a reported 15 to 20 million adherents worldwide. Sprouting from that friendship are at least two cooperation agreements between the state of Texas and Ismaili institutions, including a far-reaching program to educate Texas schoolchildren about Islam. That’s a partnership that has already prompted a bit of grumbling in far-right corners of the blogosphere and could conceivably become a primary issue if, as expected, Perry enters the presidential race.
The Aga Khan, who claims a direct lineage to the Prophet Mohammed, controls a vast international network of business and philanthropic ventures; he is not a reclusive spiritual thinker, but rather a fabulously rich jet-setter. He has, for example, been married to two princesses. (His father was for a time married to the actress Rita Hayworth.) He reportedly owns 900 Thoroughbred race horses. And in 2010 Forbes put his net worth at $800 million. All of this has made the Aga Khan a fixture in the tabloids in the U.K., where he holds citizenship (sample headline: “Saga over Aga’s skiing fall”).
When it comes to smearing Rick Perry, Justin Elliott can only hope to be a broken clock, at least then he would be right twice a day.