U.S. State Department Will Not Close Virginia Saudi SchoolBy
The Washington Times has reported that the U.S. State Department will not close a Saudi-financed Islamic school in Northern Virginia which has used textbooks containing passages were anti-Semitic, intolerant of various Muslim groups, and which advocated violence against those who convert from Islam. Previous posts have discussed the controversy concerning the Virginia Saudi Islamic Academy. According to the Times report:
State Department officials said Thursday they have no plans to close a Saudi-financed Islamic school in Northern Virginia that has failed to eliminate violent and intolerant language in textbooks.”They told us they would revise the textbooks by the 2008 school year,” State Department spokesman Rob McInturff said. “We don’t plan to take additional action apart from the discussions that have been going on with the Saudi government.”…..State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos on Thursday cited the Saudi government’s 2006 acknowledgement of a need to revise its textbooks and agreement to do so “in time for the start of the 2008 school year,” which starts this fall.”For several years we’ve engaged the Saudi government on the need to eliminate intolerant references toward other religious groups in textbooks and other educational materials used in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere,” Mr. Gallegos said. “And we’ll continue to work with the Saudi government in efforts to revise the textbooks.”
The full report of the government commission which investigated the textbooks has since become available.
The Washington Times report provides further details on the school’s controversial background:
In 2002, Mohammed Osman Idris and Mohammed El-Yacubi, both alumni, were denied entry to Israel over concerns about their ties to a potential suicide bombing.
In 2005, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the academy’s 1999 valedictorian, was indicted on charges of providing material support to terrorists, bringing national attention to the school and prompting Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, to ask if the school was just “another madrassa,” or fundamental Islamic school. The alumnus was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted on charges that included plotting to assassinate President Bush.
In addition, local media reported in May that the school has been raided by police after the school’s director failed to report child abuse allegations as required by state law.
The Virginia academy is one of 20 international Saudi schools around the world which are often attended by children of leaders of the global Muslim Brotherhood. About 28 percent of its students are Saudi citizens.