Monday, May 22, 2006

Repeat After Me: "The Saudis Are Not Our Friends"

The Saudis have claimed to have made gains in removing the teaching of intolerance, and the demonization of non-Muslims from the kingdom's schools.
A year ago, an embassy spokesman declared: "We have reviewed our educational curriculums. We have removed materials that are inciteful or intolerant towards people of other faiths." The embassy is also distributing a 74-page review on curriculum reform to show that the textbooks have been moderated.

The problem is: These claims are not true.

A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year reveals that, despite the Saudi government's statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system. The texts teach a dualistic vision, dividing the world into true believers of Islam (the "monotheists") and unbelievers (the "polytheists" and "infidels").
Sample passages from Saudi texts:

FIRST GRADE

" Every religion other than Islam is false."
TWELFTH GRADE

"Jihad in the path of God -- which consists of battling against unbelief, oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate it -- is the summit of Islam. This religion arose through jihad and through jihad was its banner raised high. It is one of the noblest acts, which brings one closer to God, and one of the most magnificent acts of obedience to God."
See the full article for many more passages.

Update: Robert Spencer points to the Koran as the source of these passages, and sees this as a sign of a deeper problem than the Saudi educational system.