Continuing yesterday’s discussion on the role of Saudi funding in British mosques, Nina Shea of the Center for Religious Freedom sets Saudi Arabia’s program of Wahhabi indoctrination into a global context following the Center’s pioneering work examining the Kingdom’s textbooks. Among the tens of thousands of schools using these textbooks worldwide is the Islamic Saudi Academy, run by the Saudi Embassy, in Fairfax, VA.
By Nina Shea
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education publishes and disseminates teachings that Muslims are to hate and treat as “enemies” other religious believers, including other, non-Wahhabi Muslims. Those were our findings in a 2006 study of Saudi government textbooks. And despite the media outcry that followed, our most recent investigation shows that Saudi textbooks, now available on the Saudi Ministry of Education website, have not been cleaned up. The same violent and intolerant lessons remain.
These textbooks assert that it is permissible for a Muslim to kill an “apostate,” an “adulterer,” those practicing “major polytheism,” and homosexuals. They promote global jihad as an “effort to wage war against the unbelievers,” including for the purpose of “calling [infidels] to the faith.” They continue to teach that “the hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” that Shiite practices amount to “polytheism” (see above), that the Christian Crusades never ended, and that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are historical fact.
In these lessons, the Saudi government discounts or ignores passages in the Qur’an and in the accounts of the life of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad that support tolerance.
After the 9/11 attacks at the hands of largely Saudi terrorists, the King convened a panel of Saudi professionals who concluded that the religious textbooks “legitimiz[e] the violent repression of the ‘other’ and even his physical elimination because of his views on disputed issues….” Now noxious Saudi texts are being spread to Muslim communities on every continent.
Saudi Arabia has long sought to be the leading Islamic power and the protector of the faith, a claim asserted in the Saudi Basic Law. With its vast oil wealth and the religious legitimacy derived from its custodianship of the two Islamic holy shrines and control of the pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia’s long-term ambitions are now within reach. Even as its official doctrine and school books remain rooted in Wahhabism, the blend of the harsh desert traditions and severe Islamic interpretations of its past, Saudi Arabia is positioning itself to be the authoritative voice of world Islam, with the King as a type of Islamic pope.