Rick Perry has made a name for himself in the last few weeks by palling around with some radical evangelical Christian figures who are openly hostile to Islam, and have even, in one notable case, called for a ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. Perry also raised eyebrows in his decidedly unecumenical exhortation for all Americans to pray to Jesus Christ.
But it turns out that the Texas governor has had surprisingly warm, constructive relations with at least one group of Muslims over the years.
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.