U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is nothing if not tenacious. He sent five letters to the State Department and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during the last 15 months of the Bush Administration expressing his concern about intolerance and extremism in Saudi Arabian textbooks, especially those being used at the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Alexandria, Va.
An analysis by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) concluded that, despite promise to remove references to offending passages, the books still teach that "Jews conspired against Islam," that Sunni Muslims should shun all Shia Muslims and that killing an apostate or an adulterer is acceptable under Islamic law.
Now there's a new team at the State Department and Wolf has written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to act. He told Clinton his past overtures resulted only in "vague assurances on the part of the State Department and the school that the curriculum has been reformed. But these assurances are insufficient, particularly when they are utterly at odds with USCIRF's findings, and may be indicative of a wider problem-namely the status of Saudi commitments made in 2006 to conduct ‘a comprehensive revision of textbooks and educational curricula to weed out disparaging remarks.'"
A resolution is needed, even if it turns out the matter has been resolved quietly, Wolf wrote:
"If the students at ISA are not being taught or exposed to texts that incite hatred and intolerance of other people and faiths, then in all fairness to them and those associated with the academy, concerns should be put to rest. If, however, the content of the textbooks is consistent with USCIRF's findings, then action is required."
Saudi Arabia was among the largest donors to former President Bill Clinton's charity foundation, Wolf notes. If Secretary of State Clinton wants to show those donations will not affect her decisions as the nation's top diplomat, Wolf writes, demanding answers from the ISA would be a good start.