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Nina Shea is director of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom (HICRF) in Washington, DC. Shea is also a Commissioner of the Congressionally-chartered US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Shea was a colleague in the protests of the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Fairfax, Virginia having had translated and reviewed alleged changes in the religious studies texts of the ISA supplied by the Saudi Education Ministry. She has been a relentless critic of alleged Saudi education ministry attempts at reform of texts used both in the Kingdom and at more than 20 Saudi-sponsored private schools in the US and other countries. She is the author of a new report by the HICRF that focused on the dismal Saudi educational text reform track record of the past decad : Ten Years On-Saudi Arabia’s Textbooks Still Promote Violence.
We will be interviewing Shea and Paul Marshall of the HICRF and reviewing their forthcoming book, Silenced:How Apostasy & Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide(Oxford University Press) in the November NER. The book portrays blasphemy laws and their consequences in the Muslim ummah and in the West at international groups like the UN Human Rights Council. It is scheduled for publication in late October, 2011.
As part of its symposium on commemoration of 9/11, “What Have We Learned?”, the NRO has published a note from Shea displaying examples of the violence contained in Saudi Ministry of Education texts that reflect the predominate Wahhabist doctrine of the Kingdom. Doctrine that may have propelled the 15 Saudi perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on America.
We learned that Saudi Arabia has long been indoctrinating its students in an ideology of religious violence, which key U.S. intelligence officials have linked to facilitating and supporting terrorists.
Ten years on, Saudi textbooks, disseminated on websites and translated here, have yet to be cleaned up.They continue to teach:
- “Jihad has two concepts…[including] a specific meaning which is: putting effort and energy into fighting for the sake of God to spread Islam and defend it.” (12th grade);
- “The Jews and Christians are enemies of the believers.” (9th grade);
- “The clash between this [Muslim] nation and the Jews and Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as God wills.” (9th grade);
- “It is part of God’s wisdom that the struggle between the Muslim and the Jews should continue until the hour [of judgment]. The good news for Muslims is that God will help them against the Jews in the end.” (8th grade);
- Apostates and blasphemers should be punished by death. (10th grade);
- “Major polytheism is a reason to fight those who practice it [including Shiites, Hindus, etc.].” (12th grade);
- Magicians and those practicing witchcraft “must be killed.” (10th grade);
- “The punishment of homosexuality is death” . . . by being “burned with fire,” “stoned,” or “thrown from a high place.”(10th grade);
- “The apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians.” (8th grade).
We also learned that the U.S. government has been unwilling to take on the ideological challenge posed by Saudi-sponsored education. Over two administrations, it has annually praised Riyadh for the “glacial” (as a Wikileaks cable put it) pace of reform. Meanwhile Saudi Wahhabi extremism spreads in Somalia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Algeria, the Balkans, the U.K., and elsewhere.