Saudi education system - Despite PR blitz denying it, textbooks teach hatred of Christians, Jews (WND-WORLD NET DAILY) 12/24/02)
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Although Saudi Arabia mounted an impressive public-relations blitz
recently to quell American angst after reports that the U.S. "ally"
has been supporting terrorism worldwide, new revelations about Saudi
school textbooks aren´t helping the desert kingdom´s much-cultivated
image of being moderate and anti-terror.
The Middle East Media Research Institute, a non-profit research
organization whose Arabic-to-English translations of Middle Eastern
documents are widely cited by the press, has released a preliminary
report on Saudi schoolbooks, based on an upcoming in-depth review to
be published in 2003. In it, the Saudi education system and its role
in the radicalization of Saudi youth and Muslim students in Saudi-
supported schools worldwide is readily apparent.
For over 20 years, says the analysis authored by MEMRI Executive
Director Steven Stalinsky, the Saudi kingdom has been engaged in an
extensive effort "to spread Islam to every corner of the earth." That
outreach has involved "supporting or creating schools with a
curriculum primarily based upon the teachings of Sheikh Muhammad Ibn
Abd Al-Wahhab, the 18th century founder of the Islamist Wahhabiyya
movement." The Wahhabi movement adheres inflexibly to Islamic Shari´a
law, and is the radical brand of Islam followed and preached by Saudi
native and terror kingpin Osama bin Laden.
According to "Education in Saudi Arabia," a 1995 book published by
the Saudi Cultural Mission to the U.S., the roots of the contemporary
Saudi education policy date back to the 18th century when Al-Wahhab
called for the return of Muslims to the fundamentals of Islam as
preached by the Prophet Muhammad. The book cites 236 principles that
explain how students should promote loyalty to Islam by denouncing
any system or theory that conflicts with Islamic law. The students
are also taught to understand Islam in a "correct manner," how to
plant and spread Islam throughout the world, and how "to fight
spiritually and physically for the sake of Allah."
The core of the Saudi education system is the mandate to spread Islam
throughout the world. According to a document published by the
kingdom´s Higher Committee for Educational Policy: "The purpose of
education is to understand Islam in a proper and complete manner, to
implement and spread the Muslim faith, to provide students with
Islamic values, and teachings."
Part and parcel of spreading Islam is "the spirit of Islamic
struggle," as exemplified by the following principle noted
in "Education in Saudi Arabia": "Striving and fighting for the sake
of Allah is a prescribed duty, a followed tradition and an existing
necessity. This spirit of striving will remain in force until the Day
"Awakening the spirit of Islamic struggle to resist our enemies,
restore our rights and glories, and perform our duties towards the
Islamic message," the Saudi book adds, is a general theme students
are expected to learn.
From an early age, says MEMRI, schoolchildren are taught about
jihad "for the Sake of Allah (Al-Jihad fi sabil Allah)":
In a textbook for 8th-grade students, a Hadith is introduced about a
companion of the Prophet Muhammad who asked the Prophet: "What labor
is most favored by Allah? He [the Prophet] answered: Prayers on time;
he then asked: What next? The Prophet answered: Love thy parents. He
then asked: What else?: The Prophet answered: Jihad for the sake of
Allah." The textbook interprets the conversation between the Prophet
and his companion as follows: The most important activity is Jihad
for the sake of Allah and the convocation of Allah´s religion on this
Jews and Christians - apes and pigs
An 8th-grade textbook also explains "why Jews and Christians were
cursed by Allah and turned into apes and pigs. Quoting Surat Al-
Maida, Verse 60, the lesson explains that Jews and Christians have
sinned by accepting polytheism and therefore incurred Allah´s wrath.
To punish them, Allah has turned them into apes and pigs."
A 9th-grade schoolbook tells a story about Abu Hurayra, one of the
Prophet´s companions who quoted the Prophet as saying: "The hour [the
Day of Judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and
kill them. A Jew will [then] hide behind a rock or a tree, and the
rock or tree will call upon the Muslim: ´O Muslim, O slave of Allah!
There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!´ Except for the gharqad
tree, for it is one of the trees of the Jews."
Other statements in the same 9th-grade textbook include:
1. It is Allah´s wisdom that the struggle between Muslims and Jews
shall continue until the Day of Judgment.
2. The Hadith brings forth the glad tidings about the ultimate
victory, with Allah´s help, of Muslims over Jews.
3. The Jews and the Christians are the enemies of the believers. They
will not be favorably disposed toward Muslims and it is necessary to
be cautious [in dealing with them].
The 9th-grade textbook then asks these questions for class
1. Who will be victorious in the Day of Judgment?
2. With what types of weapons should Muslims arm themselves against
3. Name four factors leading to the victory of Muslims over their
Exporting the Saudi system worldwide
The spread of Islam throughout the world, long a Saudi aim, is
emphasized in the official Saudi document of the Higher Committee for
Educational Policy. Students are taught "to plant and spread the
Islamic creed" and that "preaching of Islam throughout the world is
the duty of the state and its citizens."
This Saudi ambition to Islamize the entire world has manifested on
"On March 1, 2002, ´Ayn-Al-Yaqeen, a weekly news magazine published
online by the Saudi royal family, detailed the efforts of the Saudi
royal family to spread Islam throughout the world," said MEMRI.
"The cost of King Fahd´s efforts in this field," states the Saudi
news magazine, "has been astronomical, amounting to many billions of
Saudi riyals. In terms of Islamic institutions, the result is some
210 Islamic centers wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia, more
than 1,500 mosques and 202 colleges and almost 2,000 schools for
educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North
and South America, Australia, and Asia."
Saudis have established Islamic schools, says Ayn-Al-Yaqeen, in the
United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany,
Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, Spain, Austria,
Scotland, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Egypt, Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Japan,
Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Burundi,
Fiji, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Algeria, Nigeria, Chad, Kenya, Cameroon,
Senegal, Uganda, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Brazil, Eritrea, and Djibouti,
Recently, many members of the Saudi royal family, government
spokesmen and religious authorities have spoken publicly about the
Saudi education system. For instance, Sheikh Majed ´Abd Al-Rahman Al-
Firian recently stated in the Suleiman Bin Muqiran mosque in
Riyadh: "Muslims must ... educate their children to Jihad. This is
the greatest benefit of the situation: educating the children to
Jihad and to hatred of the Jews, the Christians, and the infidels;
educating the children to Jihad and to revival of the embers of Jihad
in their souls. This is what is needed now ..."
In response to U.S. criticism, high-level Saudi officials have
defended their education system, insisting it does not teach hatred
and Jihad. Indeed, that has been part of the message of the multi-
million dollar Saudi PR campaign in the U.S. to convince Americans
that Saudi Arabia is against terrorism. Saudi Interior Minister
Prince Naif Ibn Abd Al-Aziz gave an interview recently to the Saudi-
owned London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, saying: "We do believe in the
soundness of our educational curriculum, but we never oppose
development of educational methods in a manner that does not run
counter to the country´s deep-rooted principles." The prince
added: "We strongly believe in the correctness of our education
system and its objectives. We don´t change our systems on the demands
of others ... "
And on Oct. 26, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan Ibn Abd Al-´Aziz
said: "We will never change our education policy, and there is no
demand that we change it. Our country has a policy ... and above all
religious curricula that must never be harmed. Any demand by another
country in the world that Saudi Arabia change its curricula is
unacceptable interference in [Saudi] sovereignty. There is no such
demand, and we ask that our free press take note that there are
people who belong to Israel [and act] against the [Saudi] kingdom´s
policy and do the impossible in order to drive a wedge between Saudi
Arabia and the U.S."
Finally, at a press conference held between American and Saudi
officials in late October, Saudi Deputy Education Minister Dr. Khaled
Al-´Awad claimed American critics of the Saudi education system had
seen the error of their ways and had even offered to apologize.
"Meetings were held between top Saudi Education Ministry officials
and American media personnel and officials to clarify that the Saudi
curriculum is fine and does not encourage or boost terrorism and
hatred of a member of another religion or faith," said Al-
´Awad. "This follows attacks on the Saudi curriculum, according to
which it was claimed that the curricula nourished the [ideas] of
terrorism in the souls of the pupils following the events of
September 11, in which 15 of the 19 perpetrators of the events that
shocked New York and Washington and killed hundreds of people were
"These meetings yielded positive results," added Al-´Awad, "and since
most of those present realized that the Saudi curricula were fine,
they retracted their baseless accusations. In light of the facts and
information presented to them during this meeting, some of the media
personnel realized that the Saudi learning process is fine, and they
promised to stop the attacks and to apologize for the false
accusations. Similarly, some of the officials promised to retract
their previous positions."
(© 2002 WorldNetDaily.com, Inc. 12/24/02)
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