Saudi Arabia May Be Changing, but Its Schools Still Teach Anti-Semitism

February 13, 2020 | Kimberly Dozier
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In December of last year, an officer in the Saudi air force opened fire at an American military base, where he was participating in a training program, killing three U.S. Navy personnel. This act of terror is a reminder that, despite major reforms that include allowing women to drive and a quiet warming to Israel, the kingdom is still an incubator of hostility toward the West. According to a recent report, Saudi textbooks—which were also used in schools run by the Islamic State—continue to instruct students to hate Christians, the West, and above all Jews. Kimberly Dozier writes:

In 2019, Saudi students were still being instructed to keep Westerners at a distance, to consider Jews “monkeys” and “assassins” bent on harming Muslim holy places, and to punish gays by death. All those sentiments are included in textbooks that are required reading for Muslim children in Saudi Arabia from kindergarten through high school. . . . “Students are being taught that Christians, Jews, and other Muslims are ‘enemies’ of the true believer, and to befriend and show respect only to other true believers, specifically the Wahhabis,” the strict sect of Islam upon which Saudi Arabia was founded, says Ali Al-Ahmed of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Gulf Studies.

Yet there have been some very small efforts at reform, no doubt in response to American pressure:

[T]he gradual changes . . . include striking several references to Christians as “pure infidels” or unbelievers, and removing the statement that “Christianity in its current state is an invalid and perverted religion.” The Christian faith is no longer defined as a “colonial religious movement that subjected Muslims to Western ideas and stopped the spread of Islam.” . . . Also deleted is the claim that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are “a secret Jewish plan to take over the world,” and that Jews believe the world was promised to them and that it’s their right to control it. But Zionism is still described as a racist movement that uses money, the media, drugs, and women to achieve its goals.

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