(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – The problem is far greater than the five million students in Saudi Arabia who use these texts every day, said Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.
“Because of the Saudis’ great oil wealth, it is able to disseminate its textbooks far and wide,” she wrote in the report, Ten Years On.
“[These textbooks] are posted on the Saudi Education Ministry’s website and are shipped and distributed free by a vast Saudi-sponsored Sunni infrastructure to many Muslim schools, mosques and libraries throughout the world.
“This is not just hate mongering, it’s promoting violence,” she said in an interview. It is exporting terrorism through textbooks.
Christians are referred to as “swine” and Jews as “apes,” while being blamed for much of the world’s ills.
She notes in the report that since the Saudis control Islam’s holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina, they can “disseminate its religious materials among the millions of Muslims making the Hajj each year. Hence, these teachings can have a wide and deep influence.”
It was not a coincidence that 15 of the 19 attackers on 9/11 were Saudis, she added.
Ms. Shea, a human rights lawyer for 30 years, said a prime example of the texts’ influence can be seen in Indonesia, a country with a history of religious tolerance.
In 2005, Abdurrahman Wahid, the then-president, wrote about the danger of the Saudis’ exported ideology, saying it was fueling a “well-financed, multifaceted global movement that operates like a juggernaut in much of the developing world, and even among immigrant Muslim communities in the West.”
In the report, Ms. Shea cites dozens of examples of inflammatory language used against several groups, including Baha’is.
The following excerpts come from supposedly revised books produced in 2010-11.
From a Grade 8 text: “The Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians.”
Suggested lesson for Grade 8 class: As an exercise, students can spend time listing “Jews’ condemnable qualities.”
From a Grade 10 text concerning the vicious anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, written in 19th-century Czarist Russia: “These are secret decisions that aim at achieving Jewish domination of the world. They were exposed in the 19th century and the Jews have tried to deny them, but evidence exists to prove their validity and their reproduction by the Elders of Zion.”
For Grade 11: “Baha’ism: is one of the most destructive esoteric sects in the modern age.”
Ms. Shea said the books are often exported by the Saudi education ministry to poor Muslim communities around the world who need textbooks.
Last year, the BBC said they were being used by 5,000 Muslim students in Britain. Some of them have turned up in Islamic schools in the U.S., she said.
And because the texts are posted online, they are easily available.
Ms. Shea is especially critical of the U.S. State Department for not exerting enough pressure on the Saudis to change the texts. It talks about getting the Saudis to reform, but does little, she says.
In the latest report, her fourth on the subject, she says four years ago the Saudis gave a “solemn promise” to undertake a program of reform to “eliminate all passages that disparage or promote hatred toward any religion or religious groups.”
“I think it is a lack of guts and a certain amount of naiveté because [State Department] staffers believe what the Saudis tell them. But in the end we’re hooked on their oil, that’s what it comes down to.”
A spokesman from the State Department refused to respond.