According to MEMRI, “two articles that appeared approximately a year apart in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, by Hamza Qablan Al-Mozainy, a lecturer at the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, examined the ‘culture of death’ in Saudi schools and the role that teachers play in disseminating it.” (Thanks to stevez.)
In his first article, Al-Mozainy spoke of an exhibit for Saudi junior high school students:
“At this exhibit there were several ‘lectures,’ the content of most of which was not far from a call to these schoolchildren to join the stream called ‘The Islamic Awakening [movement]’ or ‘The Da’wa [movement],’ which usually turns into ‘The Jihad [movement].’
“This is not the first time such an exhibit was held. The establishment of similar exhibits is common in many schools… Likewise, many teachers preach on this matter during the lessons. One female teacher brought [to class] a mannequin [that looked like a dead body] and washed it before the schoolgirls. She involved [the schoolgirls] in washing [the body] and wrapping it in a shroud. Some of the girls stated that [following this] they were stricken by a certain anxiety….
“It seems to me that displays of this kind are only an example of the culture of death that has recently become widespread in our society. There is a bizarre insistence by some preachers on going overboard in including in their sermons frightening [statements] about the torments and horrors of the grave. This is developing to the point where the sermons include many words about the [physical] state of the dead, based on stories by those who prepare [the bodies] for burial, who usually tell fantastical tales about how signs of the good or bad end of the dead person they are washing appear on the bodies, and so on. This is also seeping into the activities within the schools…”
‘Many Youths Are the Victim of Some Extremists’
“A possible reason for this method of preaching is that it is the beginning of the path that leads to the recruitment of supporters. A youth’s absorption of the idea of death makes them abstain [from the pleasures] of this world and apply themselves more to religious activity, which can be managed by people with hidden goals. The distance is short from absorbing the idea of abstention from the life [of this world] and adapting to the idea of death, to the youth’s becoming convinced that as long as he is going to die [anyway], this death must be ‘for the sake of Allah?’
“Thus, many youths are the victims of some extremists who exploit them for the purpose of carrying out certain operations which [the extremists] make them believe are Jihad [operations].”