An Associated Press report indicates that troublesome passages have been removed from textbooks used at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia.
Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom goes all Reagan on the report: "At this point," she writes in the National Review Online, "forget trust; we must verify."
Past reviews found passages considered to be extreme and intolerant, including religious justifications for killing an apostate or an adulterer.
Those who gave the books a seal of approval work for, or were paid by, the school, Shea writes. Ali Al-Ahmed, a Saudi government critic who has followed the textbook controversy, described "some small improvements in tone" but that the emphasis on the rigid Wahhabi interpretation of Islam hasn't changed.
It's more than the issue of one school, Shea writes. While the Academy has 1,000 students, the textbooks are the same as those used in Saudi Arabia:
"Readers may recall ["Teaching Terror"] that the Saudi curriculum has been blamed — including by a growing number of Saudi commentators — for helping to form the ideology underlying such jihadi terrorists as Osama bin Laden, the 11 Saudi members of the 9/11 hijacking team, the Saudi Gitmo detainees (who formed the largest contingent there, after persons from Afghanistan), the Saudi suicide bombers in Iraq (who formed the largest such foreign contingent), the Pakistani Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and its network of radical schools that trained the Mumbai terrorists ["Tread Softly"], and even a former valedictorian of the Saudi Academy itself, to name but a few."
Ahmed and Shea are conducting their own textbook review, which they promise later this spring.