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Critics of Saudi Academy Say Textbooks Promote Intolerance

Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, January 10, 2008; B02


Some textbooks used by an Islamic school in Fairfax County contain language intolerant of Jews and other groups as well as passages that could be construed as advocating violence, according to two reviews of the materials.

Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, director-general of the Islamic Saudi Academy, said he doubts that such language is in the textbooks but said he would remove offending material if found. He would not say whether he had read passages that might be considered offensive. The academy’s books were revised over the summer, he said, and students have never been taught material advocating hate.


One review of academy textbooks was undertaken for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which recommended in October that the State Department close the school until it proves that it is not teaching a type of religious intolerance potentially dangerous to the United States.

Commission member Nina Shea said the panel is concerned that Saudi Arabia is using its educational system, and connections to schools worldwide, to export intolerant and militant religious teachings. The school’s board of directors is headed by the Saudi ambassador, and Shea has called the school an extension of the Saudi Embassy.

“We are very concerned, on a partial review of the Saudi Academy textbooks, [about] some passages that instruct that ‘jihad’ is ‘the pinnacle of Islam,’ that speak about impunity for murders of ‘polytheists’ or non-Wahhabis, that legitimize the murder of Muslim ‘apostates’ and that state the lives of only those non-Muslims living or working under Muslim rule are inviolable,” Shea said.


In addition to Jews, Bahais and Shiite and Sufi Muslims are among those denounced in some academy texts, according to reviews of the books.

Al-Shabnan said the school, which receives funding from the Saudi Embassy, operates independently of the embassy. He also said the school had given a set of textbooks to Fairfax County Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon), who has a county employee translating them.


Al-Ahmed said passages that had been the source of earlier complaints had been removed—sometimes by whiting them out—but that some intolerant material remained.

In a book of Koranic interpretation, called “Tafsir,” some passages “are troubling,” the commission translator wrote, including those that discuss the issue of the spirit of Islamic struggle, a common theme in Saudi education.

According to a copy of the translator’s report, which is to be submitted to the full commission today, a passage interpreting a Koranic verse says:

“In these verses is a call for jihad, which is the pinnacle of Islam. In [jihad] is life for the body; thus it is one of the most important causes of outward life. Only through force and victory over the enemies is there security and repose. Within martyrdom in the path of God . . . is a type of noble life-force that is not diminished by fear or poverty.”

Al-Ahmed said academy statements that the curriculum did not originate in Saudi Arabia are false.

“It still has poison in it,” he said. “Who are we kidding? It’s the mind-set, the spirit of the texts.”

Original article

(Posted on January 10, 2008)

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What’s so unacceptable about this is that we don’t share a border with any predominantly Muslim nation. This is so unnecesary and it didn’t have to come to this.

Posted by Flaxen-headed Strumpet at 6:07 PM on January 10


“One review of academy textbooks was undertaken for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which recommended in October that the State Department close the school until it proves that it is not teaching a type of religious intolerance potentially dangerous to the United States.”

Look at the approach they’re taking here, talking in a reasonable manner about the possibility of toning down a group that blatantly preaches open hatred and violence as if it’s something that might be open for discussion.

Contrast that with something a protestant pastor might say regarding a peaceful community for white Christians.

The entire MSM would go berserk. The SPLC, the ADL, and the ACLU would be screaming hate with the utmost hysteria, yet not one single word on this have they uttered, and this part of a group that has revealed time and again they will kill, blow up and maim for the fimsiest of reasons.

Just more irrefutable proof that the real concerns of these groups is an open, borderless society, based in totalitarianism.

Posted by W.R. at 9:33 PM on January 10


If it’s not the Mexicans, it’s the Muslims… We’re getting slammed from both sides! All courtesy of our rich and powerful members of Congress…

Posted by Jackers at 10:31 PM on January 10


Who cares what their textbooks say? The textbooks and school are not the issue. The Saudi presence in this country is the issue. They are incompatible with White Christian English speaking culture and must never be allowed to settle permanently in our midsts.

Posted by Flamethrower at 10:50 PM on January 10


This is the substance of middle-eastern cultural.

The way to deal with it is to admit they are distinct from our Western culture, and to forbid immigration by middle-easterners.

Posted by at 10:54 PM on January 10


The Islamic Saudi Academy had bought an 101 acre plot of land in Loudoun County, Virginia (about 10 miles north of Dulles Airport) and almost moved there a few years ago. It was styled as an Islamic fortress, and was to have over 3,500 students. Note to American readers, this particular area has a very low percentage of Muslims.

It was strenuously opposed by a number of county residents, but few county politicans, and it was approved in 1998. One of the ISA’s lead attorneys, Bob Gordon, ran as the Republican candidate for the Chairman of the Loudoun County board of Supervisors in 2003, and fortunately he lost by a few hundred votes. He would have assumed office in January 2004 if he had been elected.

On 10 July 2004, the Islamic Saudi Academy announced that it was cancelling the campus (that was never actually built) in Loudoun County. The ISA stated that financial issues were the reason. The land was sold to Loudoun County for $13.5M.

Trust no one.

Posted by at 12:53 AM on January 11


“It still has poison in it,” he said. “Who are we kidding? It’s the mind-set, the spirit of the texts.”

It is a fallacy, akin to the delusion that Islam is the religion of peace, that you can “take the poison out of it”. You can defang it perhaps, but if you do that, it will no longer be Islam.

Posted by ghw at 6:28 AM on January 11


For the actual words of Bob Gorden, the former Republican candidate for the Chairmen of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, please click on the link below:

Posted by at 10:05 PM on January 11 

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