Promoting Hate to Children

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Saudi Arabian school children (Photo: AFP/Getty)
Saudi Arabian school children (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Despite promises by Saudi Arabia to eliminate all intolerance toward and incitement against non-Muslims in public school textbooks, the kingdom is still promoting hate to children.

This is the conclusion of a new report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called Teaching Hate and Violence: Problematic Passages from Saudi State Textbooks for the 2018-19 School Year.

In textbooks for the 2018-19 academic years, children are taught hatred toward Christians, Jews and other “infidels, Shiite and Sufi Muslims, women, people who engage in anal sex, and apostasy or perceived acts of sorcery,” according to the report.

The incitement is “particularly egregious at the high school level,” the report states, while noting most of the passages inciting hate are not direct quotes from the Quran.

  • Christianity is called a “perverted religion” with Christians referred to as the “original infidels” (along with the Jews and pagans). Saudi children are told they must “fight them until they give the jizya.”
  • Jews are referred to as deceptive and having “keenness to fragment Islamic unity, destabilize the Muslim’s creed and spread doubts and lists among them.”  The “Goals of Zionism” are to establish a “Global Jewish Government to control the world.” The effect of Zionism on the Islamic world is “the spread of drugs and sexual and other diseases in many Islamic countries.”
  • Children are taught “beating [women] is permitted when necessary,” for example, “as a means of discipline.”
  • Children are taught the punishment for apostasy is death.

The report details how, in 2006, the U.S. gave Saudi Arabia a waiver from penalties under the International Religious Freedom Act after the kingdom agreed to revise its textbooks. The Saudi government stated the revision of its textbooks would be completed by the beginning of the 2008 school year. Yet 10 years later, the report notes that the high level of incitement and hate remains.

In a September 2018 statement, the Saudi foreign minister said the revision of the textbooks is not “still continuing” because the process of revamping them was completed.

“Eliminating the incitement from Saudi state textbooks is particularly important given the leadership role of the kingdom as custodian of the two holiest sites in Islam,” the report states. “Because of this special status, and thanks of the kingdom’s considerable oil wealth, the kingdom’s textbooks have been exported to a broad swath of countries on nearly every continent.”


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