Report on Saudi Hateful Textbooks Used Around the World

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May 23, 2006 The Institute for Gulf Affairs and Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom today jointly released a report analyzing a set of Saudi Ministry of Education textbooks in use during the current academic year in Islamic studies courses for elementary and secondary students.  The textbooks promote an ideology of hatred toward people, including Muslims, who do not subscribe to the Wahhabi sect of Islam.

The report, entitled Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance, was prepared by Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom and the Institute for Gulf Affairs.

The originations analyzed a set of 12 current Saudi Ministry of Education religion and history textbooks, used in the current academic year in Saudi Arabia (and in Saudi-owned schools outside the Kingdom). These texts were collected by the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs through their contacts in the country. The Institute for Gulf Affairs translated the textbooks, and Freedom House had them translated by two other independent Arabic speakers.

These textbooks are taught in schools owned and operated by the Saudi government Washington DC, London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Bonne, Rome, Vienna, Moscow, Beijing, Islamabad, Rabat, and others.

The report’s findings contradict claims made repeatedly by senior Saudi government spokesmen that they have thoroughly revised their educational materials.  Over a year ago, Saudi embassy spokesman Adel al-Jubeir stated: “We have reviewed our educational curriculums. We have removed materials that are inciteful or intolerant towards people of other faiths.” The new Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, while on a nation-wide speaking tour earlier this year, asserted:  “We eliminated what might be perceived as intolerance from old textbooks that were in our system.”  Just last week, on May 18, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal stated that “the whole system of education is being transformed from top to bottom. Textbooks are only one of the steps that have been taken by Saudi Arabia.”

  • Who: Ali Al-Ahmed, The Institute for Gulf Affairs, and Nina Shea, Freedom House
  • What: Report: Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance
  • Where: American Enterprise Institute: 1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
    Washington, DC 20036
  • When: Wednesday May 24, 2006- 3:00 PM

The report is posted on Institute for Gulf Affairs’ website www.gulfinstitute.org and the Center’s website www.freedomhouse.org .

Click here to view the Full Report.

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