The Washington Post is reporting that a review of some textbooks used by a local Islamic school sponsored by Saudi Arabia concluded that the material contained passages which were anti-Semitic, intolerant of various Muslim groups, and which advocated violence. According to the report:
One review of academy textbooks was undertaken for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which recommended in October that the State Department close the school until it proves that it is not teaching a type of religious intolerance potentially dangerous to the United States. Commission member Nina Shea said the panel is concerned that Saudi Arabia is using its educational system, and connections to schools worldwide, to export intolerant and militant religious teachings. The school’s board of directors is headed by the Saudi ambassador, and Shea has called the school an extension of the Saudi Embassy.”We are very concerned, on a partial review of the Saudi Academy textbooks, [about]some passages that instruct that ‘jihad’ is ‘the pinnacle of Islam,’ that speak about impunity for murders of ‘polytheists’ or non-Wahhabis, that legitimize the murder of Muslim ‘apostates’ and that state the lives of only those non-Muslims living or working under Muslim rule are inviolable,” Shea said.”There are denunciations of specific religious groups as evil or enemies . . . and there is blatant anti-Semitism, blaming the Jews for even divisions within Islam,” she said.In addition to Jews, Bahais and Shiite and Sufi Muslims are among those denounced in some academy texts, according to reviews of the books.
Parents and students denied the charges although noting that “intolerance” was common to many religious schools. The report also noted that the Commission’s actions provoked “tension” with the State Department:
The congressionally created commission’s actions have caused some tension with the State Department, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. State Department officials were said to be annoyed that the panel is pressing the issue during a delicate moment of diplomacy over Saudi education. They said Saudi education is undergoing reforms within the kingdom and at affiliated schools around the world. State Department officials said they have received a set of academy textbooks from the Saudi Embassy and are reviewing them.
Individuals connected to the Muslim Brotherhood have been known to send their children to various Saudi religious schools in both the U.S. and Europe. Commission members have asked the State Department for a decision about closing the academy by Jan. 17.