Friday, November 26, 2010

Our friends the Saudis: promoting a medieval educational system

Writing in the liberal Guardian (UK), Ali al-Ahmed -- director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs -- throws a spotlight on a dysfunctional Saudi educational system that he calls "medieval". Worse still, al-Ahmed reports that the Saudi government continues to export that system to the West.

BBC1's Panorama reported on the Saudi school textbooks used in over 40 Saudi schools in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The investigation found that the books contained messages of hatred, incitement of violence and other reprehensible teachings that are commonly found in the Saudi official religious discourse...

...The primary goal of Saudi education is to maintain the rule of absolute monarchy by casting it as the ordained protector of the faith, and that Islam is at war with other faiths and cultures. That's what the Saudi monarchy calls "intellectual security," maintained yet further by a ban on liberal arts education, philosophy, drama, and music.

...I have reviewed all the religious textbooks used in Saudi schools several times and found them to be comprised of medieval ideological indoctrination instead of offering a modern education that would prepare the student for the workplace.

...the text allows for the killing of apostates and polytheists, and it does not take much to qualify as one or the other. Membership in capitalist, communist or secular groups makes you an apostate, and disagreeing with the Wahhabi/Salafi anthropomorphic characterisation of God makes you a polytheist.

...The texts offer a chilling definition of murder as the intentional killing of "protected souls." You won't object very much until you know who meets the definition of a "protected soul". Let us see if you are among those who are protected. The text explains that "protected souls" include free Muslims, free (non-slave) non-Muslim citizens of Muslim countries, and non-Muslims who travel to Muslim countries by invitation of Muslim hosts. The rest are not deserving of the status of a "protected soul". If this is not license to kill the majority of the world's population, I am not sure what is.

One of that most disturbing messages offered by the textbooks is that slavery is legitimate, and that young children can be married by their fathers to adults or other children. Child marriage is legal in Saudi Arabia and girls as young as four have been married in Saudi courts. To understand the mentality of these texts' authors, you need to wonder why there is not a single photo of a living being throughout the entire 12 years of educational text that I have reviewed. The authors believe that photography is polytheistic, and they make that clear in several lessons dedicated to such teachings.

Last June, we asked the Obama administration to implement US law by banning the entry into the US of the Saudi minister of education Faisal bin Abdullah... [but the] administration chose not to follow our advice, despite the fact that this minister is directly responsible for the content of the textbooks that both incite violence and violate the rights of million of children in Saudi Arabia who are forced to study such material.'s not difficult to imagine the chilling consequences 20 years down the line, of filling the minds of millions of children with messages of hate...

As Ali al-Ahmed says, the medieval Saudi education system must be reformed.


Zilla said...

Great find, Doug. Sadly, it is not just Europe. I've seen reports over the years which show these exact same horrible things being taught to children in AMERICAN islamic schools.

Shayne said...

Must be, but won't.

Anonymous said...

These are not value-free quaint native customs that we can allow to corrode our society. Islam is incompatible with western (classical) liberal values. It is a system that demands its followers seek expansion by any means necessary.

When Islam says that it posses three choices on the unbeliever, it means it. Not necessarily at that very moment, but in time the unbeliever will be required to convert, submit or die. Progressives have no idea of the evil they are helping to be advanced when they find common cause with the advocates of Islam.