Excerpts from Saudi Arabian textbooks have caused concern for their portrayal of Jews as people who persecute Muslims and want to take over the world, as well as their call to stone or burn homosexuals. With the U.S. giving the Islamic kingdom nearly $4 billion in aid since 2005, some have been wondering if American tax dollars are being used to spread the very hate that possibly led 15 Saudi men to hijack planes on 9/11 and kill thousands of Americans.
“This is where terrorism starts, in the education system,” Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, which released the translations, told Fox News. “If you teach six million children in these important years of their lives, if you install that in their brain, no wonder we have so many Saudi suicide bombers.”
According to Al-Ahmed, the textbooks, which were printed for the 2010-2011 school year, teach students violence and bigotry in the form of Islamic law.
“They show students how to cut (the) hand and the feet of a thief,” he said, adding that other excerpts teach that Jews must be killed: “The hour (of judgment) will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. ... There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.”
The Saudi government has previously been criticized for its publication and distribution of hate-filled textbooks. In 2006, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Turki al-Faisal, told the Chicago Council on Foreign Relationships that the Saudi government, under directions from King Abdullah, would eliminate hate from textbooks and provide a “modern education” for students.
“In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah recognizes that above all else education is the key, and he has put forth a program of reforms in this area," al-Faisal said. "In recent years, 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. Not only have we eliminated what is objectionable from old textbooks that were in our system, we have also implemented a comprehensive internal revision and modernization plan.”
However, that effort appears to have been not going as stated. One year after al-Faisal's assurance that reforms have been implemented in the Saudi education system, translations of textbooks for the 2007-2008 school year were released by the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank that focuses on national security.
The translations reveal a heavily religion-based curriculum that focuses on Islamic laws in the early grades, and teach that Islam is the one, true religion and non-practitioners will burn in hell. Reportedly, as the child's education progresses, hatred of Jews and the state of Israel tend to be a heavier focus.
Much is said about the relationship between Israel and Palestine, with Israel often portrayed as an oppressor of the Palestinians by forcing them out of their homes to live in squalor.
The Jewish people are also vilified, according to the following passages:
“[Jews] 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.”
Like the most recent Saudi textbook translations, homosexuals are also vilified, and students are instructed to kill them for their actions.
“Some of the companions of the Prophet stated that [a homosexual] is to be burned with fire,” the textbook says. “It has also been said that he should be stoned, or thrown from a high place.”
Hudson Institute and Fox News both claim the textbooks were printed by the Saudi government, which has received $3.9 billion in foreign aid from the U.S. since 2005.
Cutting off foreign aid has been suggested by politicians and pundits for several years, with the House voting to block foreign aid to the oil-rich kingdom on several occasions.
However, the U.S. government has continued to send military aid to fight “terrorism,” according to government website ForeignAssistance.gov.
During a congressional debate in Jan. 2011, now defamed congressman Anthony Weiner criticized the Saudis for allegedly supporting terrorism and urged all foreign aid to cease immediately.
“Why we would be giving any aid to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at all is a bit of an eternal mystery to me given their propensity for exporting terrorists and given that they exported 15 of the 19 homicide bombers on Sept. 11,” he said, according to TheHill.com.
But Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) argued that the U.S. must continue bankrolling the Saudi government to keep America safe.
“We share mutual enemies and mutual threats,” Granger said.