Catherine Herridge of Fox News reported last week that “despite Saudi Arabia’s promises to clean up textbooks in the kingdom, recent editions continue to raise alarms in the West over jihadist language.” The story of the Saudis’ supposed duplicity has been circulating widely, but what is more surprising than the contents of the Saudi textbooks is that anyone would be surprised by them. The Saudi textbooks teach Islam. What else did anyone expect?
Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, correctly pointed out that “this is where terrorism starts, in the education system.” He stated, quite rightly, that “if you teach 6 million children in these important years of their lives, if you install that in their brain, no wonder we have so many Saudi suicide bombers.”
But there is nothing in the least unusual about what the Saudis are teaching given the fact that the official religion of the Kingdom is Islam. For example, Al-Ahmed explained that tenth-grade textbooks “show students how to cut [the] hand and the feet of a thief.”
Why not? The Qur’an says: “As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise” (5:38). Is the problem that tenth graders are too young to learn this sort of thing? But why should anyone be too young to learn the ins and outs of the eternal and perfect law designed by the supreme being for all human societies in all times and places?
Al-Ahmed also noted that a ninth-grade text called on Muslims to kill Jews in order to bring about the hour of judgment: “The hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. … There is a Jew behind me come and kill him.”
Here again, why is anyone surprised? The hadith collection that Muslims consider most reliable, Sahih Bukhari, quotes Muhammad saying this: “Allah’s Apostle said, The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him’” (4.52.177).
Should Saudi ninth graders not be learning about what they must do in order to bring about the blessed day and hour in which all things will be consummated and the golden age will dawn? Yes, it’s genocidal, anti-Semitic and monstrous, but then again, so is the original statement attributed to Muhammad. To condemn the Saudi textbooks is to condemn Muhammad and Islam. Yet the mainstream media stories that wrung their hands over the Saudi textbooks never pointed out that the noxious elements of those textbooks came straight from the Qur’an and the Islamic prophet.
Instead, the media reports pretended that the Saudis had cooked all this up themselves. That would certainly be a comforting thought, for then the problem could – at least theoretically – be isolated and contained, and one would hope that cooler heads would prevail in Riyadh and genuine reform ultimately undertaken. Reality is much less comforting, because of one central fact that no one wishes to acknowledge or consider in its implications: anywhere and everywhere Islam is taught, this kind of hatred and violence could be taught.
And it is being taught, not just in Saudi Arabia but also right here in the United States. In 1998, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi leader, visited 114 mosques in the United States. Then he gave testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999, and asserted that 80% of American mosques taught the “extremist ideology.”
Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule.
And in the summer of 2011 came another study showing that only 19% of mosques in U.S. don’t teach jihad violence and/or Islamic supremacism.
So why should anyone expect that Saudi schools would be any different?
Yet in response to the new revelations, predictably enough, a Saudi spokesman billowed out clouds of obfuscation. After all, deception is religiously sanctioned in Islam as well as warfare against unbelievers and their subjugation (cf. Qur’an 3:28). And so it was no more a surprise than the textbooks themselves when Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Al-Saud, the Saudi government official with responsibility for the textbooks, responded this way when asked about the hatred and violence in the books: “I always say to people, please come. Come, try to see us. But come without a preconceived idea. … Especially when you want to raise the future, no one is going to introduce violence. Violence is absolutely against – I think this is, I don’t know who put in those ideas.” When a reporter offered to show the Prince quotes from the textbooks, Faisal replied with the Zen-like “There are many quotes.” Then he hurried away.
Prince Faisal could have done nothing else, short of saying, “Of course the textbooks teach hatred of and warfare against the filthy kuffar. What did you expect?” But no Islamic spokesmen, with the notable exception of Anjem Choudary and a few others, are so brutally frank. And why should they be? The kuffar are ever credulous, ever eager to swallow their smooth, smiling deceptions. So it will be in this case: the Saudis will promise yet again to clean up their textbooks, and as soon as this present firestorm blows over, they will go back to raising up the next generation of jihadis.
And the fat, foolish West will never see them coming.
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