Developments in Islamic Saudi Academy and Saudi Textbook Issues

July 17, 2008 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Shariah | Leave a comment

By Andrew Cochran, Counterterrorism blog, July 16, 2008

Now that we’ve recovered from a server crash at our host company, I want to update readers on the latest developments in the use of extremist textbooks in the Islamic Saudi Academy of northern Virginia, about which I last posted on June 26, and on a new study of Saudi textbooks in general.

Rep. Frank Wolf, who wrote to Secretary of State Rice on June 24 about the textbooks use in the Islamic Saudi Academy in northern Virginia, has written another letter to Secretary Rice, first reported by CQ Homeland Security, to ask her to convene a meeting of State Department and USCIRF representatives and “conclusively determine, prior to the start of the 2008 school year, what precisely is being taught at ISA and what steps, if any, need to be taken.” Rep. Wolf cites information about the direct links between the ISA and the Saudi Embassy: “The school’s lease with Fairfax County plainly indicates that one ofthe school’s properties is being leased by ‘the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia d/b/a/ (doing business as) the Islamic Saudi Academy.’ The school’s other property is owned by the embassy. Further, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. chairs the school’s board and the school uses the Saudi Embassy’s Internal Revenue Service employer tax number.”

Rep. Wolf also noted that the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia told Congress two years ago that the Kingdom was conducting a thorough cleansing of textbooks and educational curricula, but a new report casts doubt that the Kingdom is serious about that effort. The Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, in conjunction with the Institute for Gulf Affairs, has issued a report, “2008 Update: Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance,” building on work begun by Nina Shea, the Center’s director, in 2005 (and Ms. Shea is also the editor of the USCIRF report about the ISA’s textbooks):

“They assert that unbelievers, such as Christians, Jews, and Muslims who do not share Wahhabi beliefs and practices, are hated “enemies.” Global jihad as an “effort to wage war against the unbelievers” is also promoted in the Ministry’s textbooks: “In its general usage, ‘jihad’ is divided into the following categories: …Wrestling with the infidels by calling them to the faith and battling against them.” No argument is made here that such references to jihad mean only spiritual and defensive struggles.Lessons remain that Jews and Christians are apes and swine, Jews conspire to “gain sole control over the world,” the Christian Crusades never ended, the American universities of Cairo and Beirut are part of the continuing Crusades, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are historical fact, and on Judgment Day “the rocks or the trees” will call out to Muslims to kill the Jews.

They teach that it is permissible for a Muslim to kill an “apostate,” an “adulterer,” and those practicing “major polytheism.” Shiites are among those identified as “polytheists.” One lesson states that “it is not permissible to violate the blood, property, or honor of the unbeliever who makes a compact with the Muslims,” but is pointedly silent on whether security guarantees are extended to non-Muslims without such a compact. Other lessons demonize members of the Baha’i and Ahmadiyya groups.”

The report also notes that Muslim World League, which the Kingdom founded and sponsors, invited 200 representatives of different faiths to join King Abdullah in interfaith talks in Spain this week. Steven Emerson has written a detailed article on this meeting which exposes the backgrounds of its sponsors. For instance, Abdullah al-Turki, secretary general of the MWL and organizer of the conference, has blamed U.S. policy for the 9-11 attacks and supported Palestinian terrorist attacks.

As one of the Contributing Experts to this site told me in 2006, the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia is to export oil and Wahhabism. That won’t change, at least with respect to Saudi-funded schools and mosques in the U.S., until Congress forces a change in U.S. policy towards the Saudis through the State Department appropriations bill.

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