What Saudi students learn


This week, Freedom House, a U.S.-based NGO that seeks to promote democracy around the world, released Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance, a report on Islamic-studies textbooks published by the Saudi Ministry of Education. What follows are excerpts from the report.

In the First Grade textbook on Monotheism and Jurisprudence, students are taught that Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims are destined for “Hellfire.”

A Fourth Grade textbook on Monotheism and Jurisprudence instructs students to “hate (tubghida) the polytheists and the infidels” as a requirement of “true faith.”

The Sixth Grade text on The History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contains a lesson on Palestine in which students are instructed that if the Muslims unite in a “fight” against the Jews, they will be victorious over the Jews and their American and British allies, as they once were against Christian Crusaders.

A map of the region is provided, but it labels Israel within its pre-1967 borders as “Palestine: Occupied 1948.” Students also are asked to “Cite a noble hadith (recorded teachings of the Prophet Muhammad) that explains the qualities of the Jews.”

In the Eighth Grade, the textbook on Monotheism teaches pupils to spot “condemnable” characteristics in Jews.

The text cites authority to the effect that “The apes are Jews, the keepers of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christian infidels of the communion of Jesus.”

A Ninth Grade Saudi textbook on hadiths teaches teenagers in apocalyptic terms that violence toward Jews, Christians and other unbelievers is sanctioned by God.

The text cites authority to the effect that “The apes are Jews, the keepers of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christian infidels of the communion of Jesus.”

It selectively cites a particularly inflammatory hadith about violence toward Jews and makes it broadly applicable. It then directly ties this lesson to the Palestinians’ political situation. The text includes this passage: “The Prophet said, The hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. [It will not come] until the Jew hides behind rocks and trees. [It will not come] until the rocks or the trees say ‘O Muslim! O servant of God! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.’ Except for the gharqad, which is a tree of the Jews.”

A Tenth Grade textbook for boys on Hadith and Islamic Culture contains a lesson on the “Zionist Movement.” It is a curious blend of wild conspiracy theories about Masonic Lodges, Rotary Clubs and Lions Clubs with anti-Semitic invective. It asserts that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is an authentic document and teaches students that it reveals what Jews really believe. It blames many of the world’s wars and discord on the Jews.

In particular, a text states: “Freemasonry is covertly Jewish. It puts forward general, humanist slogans, and non-Jews may rally to its cause. It is a secular, atheist, secret movement that serves the Jews indirectly. It is the secret power that creates circumstances and conditions for the Jews. As such, it helps Zionism to achieve its aims.”

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, according to the text, “were discovered in the 19th century. The Jews have tried to deny them, but there are many proofs of their veracity and their origin among the elders of Zion.”

The Tenth Grade text on Jurisprudence teaches that, in law, the life of a non-Muslim is worth a fraction of that of a “free Muslim male.”

In particular, “blood money [payable] for a free infidel … is half of the blood money for a male Muslim.” Also: “Blood money for a woman” is specified as “half of the blood money for a man.”


For a full copy of the Freedom House report, Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance:
With Excerpts from Saudi Ministry of Education Textbooks for Islamic Studies
, visit here.



Freedom House. "What Saudi students learn." National Post (May 25, 2006).

This excerpt was first published in the National Post and is reprinted here with permission. It was excerpted from Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance published by The Center for Religious Freedom, a division of Freedom House.

The Center for Religious Freedom is a division of Freedom House. Founded more than sixty years ago by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, and other Americans concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy, Freedom House has been a vigorous proponent of democratic values and a steadfast opponent of dictatorship of the far left and the far right. Its Center for Religious Freedom defends against religious persecution of all groups throughout the world. It insists that U.S foreign policy defend those persecuted for their religion or beliefs around the world, and advocates the right to religious freedom for every individual.

Since its inception in 1986, the Center, under the leadership of human rights lawyer Nina Shea, has reported on the religious persecution of individuals and groups abroad and undertaken advocacy on their behalf in the media, Congress, State Department, and the White House. It also sponsors investigative field missions.

Freedom House is a 501(c)3 organization, headquartered in New York City. Its Center for Religious Freedom is a membership organization and all donations to it are tax-deductible. It is located at 1319 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-747-7062; www.freedomhouse.org/religion.

Copyright © 2006 Freedom House

Subscribe to CERC's Weekly E-Letter



Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.