Saudi Arabia Is Purging Anti-Semitism from Its Textbooks

December 17, 2020 | Kimberly Dozier
About the author:

When Islamic State established its own schools in Iraq and Syria, it used textbooks produced in Saudi Arabia, and over the past decades educational materials coming from the kingdom have encouraged hatred of Jews and Israel, among other ills, throughout the Muslim world. Finally, that situation may be changing, writes Kimberly Dozier:

The kingdom’s latest batch of textbooks has for the first time removed sections calling for non-believers to be punished by death, and predicting an apocalyptic final battle in which Muslims will kill all Jews. . . . That said, the books, which are used in the public K-12 curriculum and made freely available throughout the Arab world, still characterize Jews and Christians as “enemies of Islam.” They say that infidels “do not have any good deeds” and will spend eternity in hell.

This is the second major revision of the nation’s textbooks during the Trump administration. Last year’s version dropped many of the worst racist and anti-Semitic references but was still “suffused with extremism,” Marcus Sheff, [an expert on the subject], says. . . . The reforms of the 2020 textbooks include removing most references to jihad. . . . Just a decade ago, [by contrast], the curriculum centered around preparing students for jihad and martyrdom.

The texts, [moreover], no longer include the anti-Semitic trope that “Zionist Forces” run the world and are plotting to expand Israel’s territory from the Nile to the Euphrates. . . . And for the first time, a key Saudi religious teaching has been deleted that describes an end-of-days battle between Muslims and Jews in which all the Jews would be killed.

Read more on Time: