These two articles detail the extent of racism and ant-Semitism is Saudi texts introduced in the the
United States after 9-11, and in Saudi texts in Saudi Arabia. These may be taken
as representative of Arab and Muslim countries. These reports surfaced in 2006,
but they represent an ongoing situation which in essentially unchanged. A furor
was caused in 2002 when a Saudi newspaper claimed that Jews
, but the claim was probably not exceptional.
Nina Shea's report on Saudi textbooks illustrates the problem. These are
the texts after the intolerance was supposedly removed, and this material is
being distributed in the West.
A few examples will suffice - you can read the whole sorry report below.
This is some of the wisdom taught to eighth graders:
"As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the
people of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of
the communion of Jesus."
"God told His Prophet, Muhammad, about the
Jews, who learned from parts of God's book [the Torah and the Gospels] that
God alone is worthy of worship. Despite this, they espouse falsehood through
idol-worship, soothsaying, and sorcery. In doing so, they obey the devil.
They prefer the people of falsehood to the people of the truth out of envy
and hostility. This earns them condemnation and is a warning to us not to do
as they did."
"They are the Jews, whom God has cursed and
with whom He is so angry that He will never again be satisfied [with them]."
"Some of the people of the Sabbath were
punished by being turned into apes and swine. Some of them were made to
worship the devil, and not God, through consecration, sacrifice, prayer,
appeals for help, and other types of worship. Some of the Jews worship the
devil. Likewise, some members of this nation worship the devil, and not
Tenth graders learn that Muslim men are worth more than women or
"Blood money for a free infidel. [Its
quantity] is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, whether or not he is
'of the book' or not 'of the book' (such as a pagan, Zoroastrian, etc.).
"Blood money for a woman: Half of the blood
money for a man, in accordance with his religion. The blood money for a
Muslim woman is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, and the blood
money for an infidel woman is half of the blood money for a male infidel."
In case you believed that Jihad is an inner struggle of the believer with
his soul, this twelfth grade text will correct your misconception:
"Jihad in the path of God -- which consists of
battling against unbelief, oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate
it -- is the summit of Islam. This religion arose through jihad and through
jihad was its banner raised high. It is one of the noblest acts, which
brings one closer to God, and one of the most magnificent acts of obedience
Some Muslims may believe Jihad is an inner struggle. That is
apparently not what the children of your Muslim neighbors in the USA or
Australia or Britain or Holland or France are learning in their schools. We
can only imagine what sort of things are taught in Arabic textbooks, because
usually these are not accessible to Westerners.
In a postscript - the report is confirmed by the New York Times
and writers in Dubai:
This is a Saudi textbook. (After the intolerance was
By Nina Shea
Sunday, May 21, 2006; B01
Saudi Arabia's public schools have long been cited for demonizing the
West as well as Christians, Jews and other "unbelievers." But after the
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis --
that was all supposed to change.
A 2004 Saudi royal study group recognized the need for reform after
finding that the kingdom's religious studies curriculum "encourages violence
toward others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to
safeguard their own religion, they must violently repress and even
physically eliminate the 'other.' " Since then, the Saudi government has
claimed repeatedly that it has revised its educational texts.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, has
worked aggressively to spread this message. "The kingdom has reviewed all of
its education practices and materials, and has removed any element that is
inconsistent with the needs of a modern education," he said on a
recent speaking tour to several U.S. cities. "Not only have we
eliminated what might be perceived as intolerance from old textbooks that
were in our system, we have implemented a comprehensive internal revision
and modernization plan." The Saudi government even took out a full-page ad
in the New Republic last December to tout its success at "having modernized
our school curricula to better prepare our children for the challenges of
tomorrow." A year ago, an embassy spokesman declared: "We have reviewed our
educational curriculums. We have removed materials that are inciteful or
intolerant towards people of other faiths." The embassy is also distributing
a 74-page review on curriculum reform to show that the textbooks have been
The problem is: These claims are not true.
A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used
during the current academic year reveals that, despite the Saudi
government's statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward
Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains
in this area of the public school system. The texts teach a dualistic
vision, dividing the world into true believers of Islam (the "monotheists")
and unbelievers (the "polytheists" and "infidels").
This indoctrination begins in a first-grade text and is reinforced and
expanded each year, culminating in a 12th-grade text instructing students
that their religious obligation includes waging jihad against the infidel to
"spread the faith."
Freedom House knows this because Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi dissident who runs
Institute for Gulf Affairs , gave us a dozen of the current, purportedly
cleaned-up Saudi Ministry of Education religion textbooks. The copies he
obtained were not provided by the government, but by teachers,
administrators and families with children in Saudi schools, who slipped them
out one by one.
Some of our sources are Shiites and Sunnis from non-Wahhabi traditions --
people condemned as "polytheistic" or "deviant" or "bad" in these texts --
others are simply frustrated that these books do so little to prepare young
students for the modern world.
We then had the texts translated separately by two independent, fluent
Religion is the foundation of the Saudi state's political ideology; it is
also a key area of Saudi education in which students are taught the
interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism (a movement founded 250 years ago
by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) that is reflected in these textbooks.
Scholars estimate that within the Saudi public school curriculum, Islamic
studies make up a quarter to a third of students' weekly classroom hours in
lower and middle school, plus several hours each week in high school.
Educators who question or dissent from the official interpretation of Islam
can face severe reprisals. In November 2005, a Saudi teacher who made
positive statements about Jews and the New Testament was fired and sentenced
to 750 lashes and a prison term. (He was eventually pardoned after public
and international protests.)
The Saudi public school system totals 25,000 schools, educating about 5
million students. In addition, Saudi Arabia runs academies in 19 world
Washington in Fairfax County, that use some of these same religious
Saudi Arabia also distributes its religion texts worldwide to numerous
Islamic schools and madrassas that it does not directly operate. Undeterred
by Wahhabism's historically fringe status, Saudi Arabia is trying to assert
itself as the world's authoritative voice on Islam -- a sort of "Vatican"
for Islam, as several Saudi officials have stated-- and these textbooks are
integral to this effort. As the report of the commission investigating the
Sept. 11 attacks observed, "Even in affluent countries, Saudi-funded Wahhabi
schools are often the only Islamic schools" available.
Education is at the core of the debate over freedom in the Muslim world.
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden understands this well; in a
recent audiotape he railed against those who would "interfere with
The passages below -- drawn from the same set of Saudi texts proudly
cited in the new 74-page review of curriculum reform now being distributed
by the Saudi Embassy -- are shaping the views of the next generation of
Saudis and Muslims worldwide. Unchanged, they will only harden and deepen
hatred, intolerance and violence toward other faiths and cultures. Is this
what Riyadh calls reform?
" Every religion other than Islam is false."
"Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words (Islam, hellfire): Every
religion other than ______________ is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam
"True belief means . . . that you hate the polytheists and infidels but
do not treat them unjustly."
"Whoever obeys the Prophet and accepts the oneness of God cannot maintain
a loyal friendship with those who oppose God and His Prophet, even if they
are his closest relatives."
"It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a loyal friend to someone who does
not believe in God and His Prophet, or someone who fights the religion of
"A Muslim, even if he lives far away, is your brother in religion.
Someone who opposes God, even if he is your brother by family tie, is your
enemy in religion."
"Just as Muslims were successful in the past when they came together in a
sincere endeavor to evict the Christian crusaders from Palestine, so will
the Arabs and Muslims emerge victorious, God willing, against the Jews and
their allies if they stand together and fight a true jihad for God, for this
is within God's power."
"As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the people of the Sabbath;
while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of the communion of Jesus."
"God told His Prophet, Muhammad, about the Jews, who learned from parts
of God's book [the Torah and the Gospels] that God alone is worthy of
worship. Despite this, they espouse falsehood through idol-worship,
soothsaying, and sorcery. In doing so, they obey the devil. They prefer the
people of falsehood to the people of the truth out of envy and hostility.
This earns them condemnation and is a warning to us not to do as they did."
"They are the Jews, whom God has cursed and with whom He is so angry that
He will never again be satisfied [with them]."
"Some of the people of the Sabbath were punished by being turned into
apes and swine. Some of them were made to worship the devil, and not God,
through consecration, sacrifice, prayer, appeals for help, and other types
of worship. Some of the Jews worship the devil. Likewise, some members of
this nation worship the devil, and not God."
"Activity: The student writes a composition on the danger of imitating
"The clash between this [Muslim] community (umma) and the Jews and
Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as God wills."
"It is part of God's wisdom that the struggle between the Muslim and the
Jews should continue until the hour [of judgment]."
"Muslims will triumph because they are right. He who is right is always
victorious, even if most people are against him."
The 10th-grade text on jurisprudence teaches that life for non-Muslims
(as well as women, and, by implication, slaves) is worth a fraction of that
of a "free Muslim male." Blood money is retribution paid to the victim or
the victim's heirs for murder or injury:
"Blood money for a free infidel. [Its quantity] is half of the blood
money for a male Muslim, whether or not he is 'of the book' or not 'of the
book' (such as a pagan, Zoroastrian, etc.).
"Blood money for a woman: Half of the blood money for a man, in
accordance with his religion. The blood money for a Muslim woman is half of
the blood money for a male Muslim, and the blood money for an infidel woman
is half of the blood money for a male infidel."
"The greeting 'Peace be upon you' is specifically for believers. It
cannot be said to others."
"If one comes to a place where there is a mixture of Muslims and
infidels, one should offer a greeting intended for the Muslims."
"Do not yield to them [Christians and Jews] on a narrow road out of honor
"Jihad in the path of God -- which consists of battling against unbelief,
oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate it -- is the summit of
Islam. This religion arose through jihad and through jihad was its banner
raised high. It is one of the noblest acts, which brings one closer to God,
and one of the most magnificent acts of obedience to God."
Nina Shea is director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom
Source and Copyright -
Who is a Racist? NYT Article
confirms Saudi texts are racist
A New York Times report confirms an earlier report in the
Washington Post (see
Anti-Semitism: Racist Saudi textbooks distributed in the United States)
about racism in Saudi texts. The Saudi government has promised to clean up
their texts, especially since 9-11, but "they are still working on it" it
seems. The following quote seems to typify the thinking that promises to
perpetuate the problem:
"What makes changing the curriculum so
difficult is that the people are living in the middle of a conflict," he
said. One of the easiest ways conservatives have of attacking him is to
say he is serving America by demanding the change, he says.
"As we discuss change, they say, 'Look what America is doing to us, look
what Israel is doing,' " he said.
Let's see if I got this right. Before 9-11,
there was no pressure to change the texts, so they were not changed. After
9-11, there was pressure to change the texts, and the Saudis resented the
pressure, so they won't change the texts. Do you see a problem here?
Don't Be Friends With Christians or Jews, Saudi Texts Say
By HASSAN FATTAH
Published: May 24, 2006
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, May 23 — Despite years of work aimed at
changing Saudi Arabia's public school curriculum, the country's latest
textbooks continue to promote intolerance of other religions, a new study
A first-grade student is taught that "Every religion other than Islam is
false"; the teacher instructed to "Give examples of false religions, like
Judaism, Christianity, paganism, etc." Fifth graders learn "It is forbidden
for a Muslim to be a loyal friend to someone who does not believe in God and
his prophet, or someone who fights the religion of Islam."
Those lessons are among numerous examples cited in a controversial new study
of Saudi Arabia's religious curriculum released Tuesday by the Center for
Religious Freedom, part of Freedom House, a nonprofit group in Washington
that seeks to encourage democracy. Despite official pronouncements that
curriculum change is marching ahead, intolerance continues to pervade
religious education in Saudi public schools, the report says.
"It is not hate speech here and there, it is an ideology that runs
throughout," Nina Shea, the center's director and principal author of the
report, said in a telephone interview from Washington. "It adds up to an
argument, an ideology of us versus them."
The report's authors, who worked with the Institute for Gulf Affairs, a
research group based in Washington that focuses on the Middle East, obtained
12 history and religion textbooks from parents of Saudi schoolchildren, and
translated the texts. The textbooks were used last year in Saudi schools and
Saudi-run schools in Washington, London, Paris and several other cities, the
The results, they say, outline a systematic theme of "hatred toward
'unbelievers,' " mainly Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists, but also
Shiites and other Muslims who do not ascribe to the country's orthodox
Wahhabi teaching of Islam.
Saudi Arabia's education system was heavily scrutinized after the Sept. 11
attacks, and criticized internationally for its extremism. Since then, the
government has faced significant pressure from both inside and outside the
country to change its schools. King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch, has made
the reform a priority.
Religion is at the core of Saudi public education and can amount to one
quarter to a third of class time. By the time Saudi students reach high
school, that amount drops slightly to at least one period in six devoted to
religious topics, including interpretation of holy texts, theology and
morality. (The report looked solely at religion and history texts, and
excluded books on other subjects like math and science.)
The findings contradict Saudi statements that educational materials have
been revised, the report said.
Saudi officials acknowledged that acerbic language remains in Saudi
textbooks, but said their revision was far from complete.
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki Al-Faisal,
responding to an article by Ms. Shea in The Washington Post over the
weekend, said in a statement Monday, "There are hundreds of books that are
being revised to comply with the new requirements, and the process remains
He added, "The objective of the educational system is to fight intolerance
and to prepare Saudi youth with the skills and knowledge to compete in the
Saudi reformers note that if the latest textbooks are wanting, they are
still a far cry from what they were five years ago. The Saudi public, said
Muhammad al-Zulfa, a member of the consultative Shura council, say they are
generally in favor of reforming textbooks and curriculum, but religious
conservatives have stymied the effort.
"It is an uphill battle to revise the curriculum because the resistance by
well-established conservative pockets is so fierce," Mr. Zulfa said.
One Saudi official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the
issue's sensitivity, also cited religious conservatives. "We know what needs
to be taken out," he said. "But it's not that easy to do it."
Hamza al-Mozainy, a professor of linguistics and a columnist who has
campaigned for education reform, said the seeming clash between Islam and
the West creates a tough environment for change.
"What makes changing the curriculum so difficult is that the people are
living in the middle of a conflict," he said. One of the easiest ways
conservatives have of attacking him is to say he is serving America by
demanding the change, he says.
"As we discuss change, they say, 'Look what America is doing to us, look
what Israel is doing,' " he said.
But even if the textbooks were changed, the effort might not amount to much
unless the country's teachers were retrained, a far more difficult matter.
"The problem was not the textbooks, it was the mentality of a minority,"
said Hassan al-Ahdal, director general of the Muslim World League, a
Saudi-based Islamic organization. "Some teachers or supervisors are
projecting their own beliefs on the textbooks and are trying to convince
their students, as if theirs is the real interpretation of the textbooks."
Abdulnabi Shaheen contributed reporting from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for this
Sources and Further Reading
and Muslim anti-Semitism,
Arab Anti-semitism 1998,
Anti-semitism 1999, Arab
Anti-semitism 2001, Arab
Anti-semitism 2002, Arab
Anti-semitism 2003. Arab
Arab Anti-semitism 2005,
Anti-semitism 2006, Arab
Anti-semitism 2007, Arab
Speech 2003 , Racism in
Jews and Muslims in Post-Israel Middle East - Azzam Tamimi
Carnival - Anti-Semitic Cartoons in the Arab World
Grand Mufi Hajj Amin El Husseini
Persecution of the Jews Under Islam
A history of Muslim antisemitism and anti-Zionism
The Salience of Islamic Antisemitism
Arab Anti-Semitism at Wikipedia
Anti-Semitism Documentation Project
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by the author and Zionism and Israel
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