Saudi Arabia To Pull Books By Muslim Brotherhood Ideologues From Libraries And Schools

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Gulf media is reporting that Saudi education authorities have called for the removal of around 80 books from libraries and schools. According to the Gulf News report, the list of works include those by Muslim Brotherhood ideologues Hassan Al Banna, Yousuf Al Qaradawi and Sayyed Qutb:

December 1, 2015  Saudi education authorities have called for pulling out around 80 books from the shelves of libraries and learning resources centres in schools.

Officials have been given two weeks to remove the religious books that the authorities are banning, Saudi news site Sabq reported on Tuesday.

The list of the books to be removed includes works by religious authors Hassan Al Banna, Yousuf Al Qaradawi and Sayyed Qutb.

In their note, the education authorities warned all schools not to accept any gifts of books or publications and to limit their resources to what the education ministry offered them.

Al Banna was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt while Qutb, an Islamic theorist, was a leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s. Al Banna was assassinated during the rule of Egypt’s King Farouq, and Qutb was hanged by the regime of Jamal Abdul Nasser after being convicted of planning his assassination.

Doha-based Al Qaradawi, an Egyptian Islamic theologian who chaired the International Union of Muslim Scholars, had a regular religious talk show on pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera, allowing him to reach out to millions of viewers. However, he often waded into controversy over fatwas and views. He is seen as being sympathetic to the Brotherhood as well as ousted Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi, who is also a member of the Brotherhood.

In Kuwait, a lawmaker on Monday called for renaming Hassan Al Banna street, saying that it should be given the name of a local resident who was killed during the invasion of the country by Iraq in 1990.

This latest action by Saudi Arabia appears to reflect what at the very least can be described as a conflicted policy by the Kingdom. As the above report notes, the list of books to be removed from Saudi schools includes works by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi but in October the GMBDW reported that Qaradawi had  attended a ceremony organized by Saudi Arabia in Qatar earlier that month.

The GMBDW has been warning since March 2014 that the Saudi Arabia’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization was likely not what it seemed at first and that the Kingdom has been continuing its outreach and support of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Since then:

  • In October we reported on an “interfaith” event sponsored by by the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, known by its abbreviation KAICIID, a controversial organization that was founded in Vienna in October 2011 by the then Saudi King. The event featured two key individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
  • In August, we reported on a French newspaper report suggesting that Saudi Arabia was trying to ‘normalise’ its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • In July, we reported in that a high-level Hamas delegation, including the group’s political leader, had visited Saudi Arabia where they met with the new Saudi King as well as other officials.

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