Another story on Saudi dissembling about their textbooks. And of course, why wouldn’t this material be in them? It’s in the Qur’an (2:62-65; 5:59-60; 7:166). From the Telegraph, with thanks to Anon:
Saudi Arabia has been accused of continuing to foster religious hatred in its schools, despite its repeated assurances since the September 11 attacks that it would rewrite textbooks that refer to Jews as “apes” and Christians as “swine”.
The charges come after Freedom House, a non-partisan American research group which monitors civil rights worldwide, examined textbooks that it smuggled out of Saudi Arabia. The group found that despite promises of change from leading Saudi officials, including Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister, and Turki al-Faisal, the ambassador to America, schoolbooks in the kingdom still promote hatred of those who do not practise its strict form of Wahhabi Islam.
The report also alleged that some of the textbooks are used in official Saudi schools around the world. Senior staff at the King Fahd Academy in Acton, west London, which has 750 pupils, said that it was not for the school to comment.
“Even if only a small percentage of the people who are exposed to this take it to heart and act on it, that’s still a lot of people,” said Nina Shea, Freedom House’s director, after the release of the 39-page report, Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance.
The report cites extracts from textbooks used in religious education classes for children aged between five and 16. It quotes the following exercise for the youngest children: “Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words (Islam, hellfire): Every religion other than ——- is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam enters ——-.”
It claims that older students are taught: “It is part of God’s wisdom that the struggle between the Muslim and the Jews should continue until the hour (of judgment).”
The report is an embarrassment for the Saudi government, which has made great efforts to restore its image since being painted as a bastion of extremism after September 11. When it emerged that 15 of the 19 hijackers that day were Saudi, many blamed the kingdom’s education system for breeding hatred.
Last month, however, only days before the report was released, the Saudi education minister gave a joint press conference with the American secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, in which he boasted of Saudi school reform.
“The education reforms in Saudi Arabia go beyond textbook rewriting,” he said. “They go into teacher training [and] the messages that are given to children in the formative years”¦ The whole system of education is being transformed from top to bottom.”
When asked about offensive language in textbooks, he said: “This is taken out.” But, according to Miss Shea, this is not true. “Teaching methods that ask kindergarten children to give examples of ‘false religions’, like Judaism and Christianity, add up to an ideology that runs throughout,” she said. “It is not hate speech here and there. It adds up to an argument, an ideology of us versus them.”