Jewish Journal

Saudi textbooks: Faithful Muslims shoud hate Christians and Jews

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 22, 2008 | 3:45 pm

Yesterday I linked to Ali Eteraz’s classic blog post deciphering the Quranic passages that refer to Jews as “apes” and “swine.” Coincidentally, Slate was on a similar path last night with this report about what textbooks in Saudi Arabia really say about Christians and Jews.

Here, for example, is a multiple-choice question that appears in a recent edition of a Saudi fourth-grade textbook, Monotheism and Jurisprudence, in a section that attempts to teach children to distinguish “true” from “false” belief in god:

Q. Is belief true in the following instances:
  a) A man prays but hates those who are virtuous.
  b) A man professes that there is no deity other than God but loves the unbelievers.
  c) A man worships God alone, loves the believers, and hates the unbelievers.

The correct answer, of course, is c). According to the Wahhabi imams who wrote this textbook, it isn’t enough just to worship god or just to love other believers—it is important to hate unbelievers as well. By the same token, b) is also wrong. Even a man who worships god cannot be said to have “true belief” if he loves unbelievers.

“Unbelievers,” in this context, are Christians and Jews. In fact, any child who sticks around in Saudi schools until ninth grade will eventually be taught that “Jews and Christians are enemies of believers.” They will also be taught that Jews conspire to “gain sole control of the world,” that the Christian crusades never ended, and that on Judgment Day “the rocks or the trees” will call out to Muslims to kill Jews.

These passages, it should be noted, are from new, “revised” Saudi textbooks. Following a similar analysis of earlier versions of these same textbooks in 2006, American diplomats immediately approached their Saudi counterparts about the more disturbing passages, and the Saudis agreed to conduct a “comprehensive revision … to weed out disparaging remarks towards religious groups.”

Wow, what an improvement.

This is a major reason some American Jews believe peace in Israel is impossible: Many in the Muslim world are being groomed, through TV and their textbooks, to hate their Zionists enemies. I mean, they killed Farfur.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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