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Saudi Arabia Bans Muslim Brotherhood From Schools

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US President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia banned Muslim Brotherhood teachings and any other influence of the Islamist organization from its schools’ curriculum. The move includes firing teachers who are sympathetic to the Brotherhood’s program for political revolution.

The announcement was made by Saudi Education Minister Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Issa, who vowed the government will “fight extremist ideologies by reviewing school curricula and books to ensure they are free of the banned Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda.”

Al-Issa also said the government would “ban books attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood from all schools and universities and remove all those who sympathize with the group.”

The Saudi’s designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in 2014.

The move comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) pledged to return the kingdom to “moderate Islam,” and follows a number of reforms the prince made to further that goal. Speaking in an interview with CBS,  MBS said elements of the Brotherhood infiltrated Saudi schools.

The Brotherhood has operated in Saudi Arabia since the 1950’a when members of the organization fled Egypt after the crackdown by then president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Many influential members found jobs in Saudi Arabia’s the educational and public sectors.

Even though the agenda of the Brotherhood (installing sharia as the law of the land) and the hardline Wahhabist clerics who dictate the influence of religion over the kingdom appear the same, the two are actually at odds with one another politically.

The Brotherhood fashions itself as a populist movement, whereas the ruling Al Saud family are allied with the Wahhabist clerics in exchange for the religious establishment throwing their supporting behind the monarchy.

As the crown prince solidifies his power in anticipation of his ascent to the throne (which commentators say is imminent due to the deteriorating condition of his father, King Salman), striking out against the Brotherhood serves a number of purposes — many also positive for the West.

First and foremost is the prince’s ability to maintain authoritative power over the kingdom. An essentially seditious Islamist movement only represents a threat to him, particularly if the movement’s adherents are educating the next generation of Saudis.

Secondly, if the prince is really sincere in his pledge to turn the kingdom away from extremist Islam and towards moderation, then banning any educational influence of the Brotherhood is a great place to start.

Join us in asking U.S. President Trump to ban the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. by clicking here:

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org