Despite a report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Va., has continued to use textbooks that teach hatred of everyone not of their specific brand of faith, the U.S. State Department has yet to act to close down the school.
Officials of the academy, which has about 1,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, promised to excise passages in the textbooks that disparage Jews and Christians. But according to an examination by The Washington Post for the 2006-07 school year, though "much of the controversial material had been removed, at least one book still contained passages that extolled jihad and martyrdom, called for victory over one's enemies and said the killing of adulterers and apostates was 'justified.'"
Once again, Islamic Saudi Academy officials have promised to clean up the text.
There are at least two questions that should be asked. One: are they telling us the truth this time? Probably not. Two: why do we allow such schools in our country when nothing close to a Christian, Jewish or even secular school would be permitted in Saudi Arabia, whose government specifically treats as contraband any religious text other than the Koran and prohibits even private worship of any God but Allah?
Unfortunately, such schools and hate material are not limited to the United States. According to Andrew Cochran, writing on the blog counterrorism.org, "it appears to be more of a systemic effort by numerous Muslim educators worldwide to brainwash their children. Textbooks used in Iran refer to the United States as the 'Great Satan' and to Israel as 'the regime that occupies Jerusalem,' according to a study released in February by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace."
In a separate statement, the co-authors write, "The books reveal an uncompromisingly hostile attitude towards the West, especially the United States and Israel. In fact, the curriculum's declared goal is to prepare the students for a global struggle against the West which bears alarming Messianic-like features to the point of self-destruction."
This isn't the first time the Saudis have been discovered brainwashing Muslim youth, writes Cochran: Last year, Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom released a report analyzing Saudi Ministry of Education textbooks in use for elementary and secondary students. The authors found that the books "(c)ommand Muslims to 'hate' Christians, Jews, 'polytheists' and other 'unbelievers,' including non-Wahhabi Muslims, though, incongruously, not to treat them 'unjustly' ... teach that 'Jews and the Christians are enemies of the (Muslim) believers' and that 'the clash' between the two realms is perpetual" and "instruct that 'fighting between Muslims and Jews will continue until Judgment Day, and that the Muslims are promised victory over the Jews in the end."
The Center for Islamic Pluralism (www.islamicpluralism.org), a Web site that bills itself as a voice of moderate Islam, quotes David D. Aufhauser, a former Treasury Department general counsel who told a Senate committee four years ago that estimates of Saudi spending on these schools worldwide are "north of $75 billion." The Center says the money financed construction of thousands of mosques, schools and Islamic centers, the employment of at least 9,000 proselytizers and the printing of millions of books of religious instruction.
In 2006, the noted Islamic scholar, Bernard Lewis, called Wahhabism, the Saudi brand of Islam, "the most radical, the most violent, the most extreme and fanatical version of Islam."
Why should a school funded and controlled by the Saudi government be expected to modify its beliefs to accommodate Western, Jewish and Christian sensibilities, unless it might make us lower our guard?
The Center for Islamic Pluralism says Saudi Arabia has a "pervasive influence on Islamic education in the United States (that) has led to the development of a new breed of American: the jihadist."
The $2.2 million lease with Fairfax County, Va., which allows the school to operate, at least through June, permits county officials to terminate the lease if the county board of supervisors determine it necessary for public "health, safety and welfare."
One would be hard-pressed to find a greater threat to public health, safety and welfare than this training ground for a new generation of jihadists. The State Department isn't known for having a spine in such things. Does Fairfax County, or will it pretend it can take Saudi money without suffering consequences?
E-mail nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at email@example.com.