State Dept. Blocks Publication of Study it Commissioned on Hate-Filled Saudi Textbooks
In an effort to not upset the powerful oil sheikdom, the Obama administration has sat on a critical report of Saudi Arabia’s school textbooks, which have contained hateful representations of Jews, Christians, homosexuals and others.
The unreleased 2012 report, commissioned by the State Department, has become news as President Barack Obama prepares to visit the Saudi kingdom this week.
While the report remains hidden, another report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a center-right think tank in Washington, provides details about the textbook investigation conducted by the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD).
The foundation report says the ICRD study found Saudi textbooks “dehumanize Jews and Christians, promote the murder of perceived deviants such as homosexuals,” and approve of violence toward Muslims who do not follow the Wahhabi version of Islam that Saudi’s royal family embracse.
Michael Posner, former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor during Obama’s first term, told The Daily Beast that Saudi schoolbooks have also “linked Christians and Jews to apes and pigs.”
“If those references are still in some textbooks then the problem hasn’t been solved,” he said in reference to the sequestered ICRD report.
Current and former officials who have seen the study say that some improvements have been made, with the most offensive language having been removed from textbooks, but there remains room for improvement.
The State Department claims the study was never intended for public distribution. But Posner says that wasn’t true.
“We commissioned the study to assess and evaluate the content of the textbooks with the intention of sharing our findings with the Saudi government and with the option, depending on the findings, of making it public if the problems persisted,” Posner told The Daily Beast.
According to the report, Saudi textbooks have included the following passages:
“Kill the person who changes his religion … for there is no benefit in keeping them alive.”
“It is permissible to kill a sorcerer” (particularly notable given Saudi police arrested more than 200 people in 2012 alone for alleged sorcery).
Pagans, Christians and Jews are “the worst creatures” who “will dwell in hellfire.”
God made Jews out of “swine and apes.”
To Learn More:
Textbook Diplomacy: Why the State Department Shelved a Study on Incitement in Saudi Education Materials (by David Andrew Weinberg, Foundation for Defense of Democracies) (pdf)
U.S. Keeps Saudi Arabia’s Worst Secret (by Eli Lake, Daily Beast)
Public Library of US Diplomacy (WikiLeaks)
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