The Saudi Arabian government continues to make obscure, insignificant revisions to its incendiary textbooks, according to a report by the Hudson Institute released Monday.
Like earlier versions, the 2010-11 textbooks contain anti-Semitism, including "blood libel" aimed at advancing Saudi politics; fear-mongering about the "infidel" and information about the on-going victimization of Muslim minorities in the West.
Comparing 2006-2008 Saudi textbooks to the latest editions, the report, "Ten Years On: Saudi Arabia's Textbooks Still Promote Violence," documents relatively minor changes made by the Saudi government. The books continue to focus on Saudi national security concerns, rather than promoting the rejection of religious extremism.
Twelve of 15 "highly intolerant and violent passages we singled out in our 2006 and 2008 studies remain essentially unchanged, with only some slight mediation of wording." the Hudson report notes. One section glorifying jihad and blaming Jews for the country's problems were removed, "though the same or similar teaching remains elsewhere in the curriculum."
The newest edition of a 12th grade text "no longer sanctions killing and robbing outright, but instead asserts that polytheists – and 'infidels' generally – should be fought but only under certain conditions."
The Hudson Institute has tracked Saudi curricula and its direct correlation with religious extremism for many years. The U.S. government has also pressed the Saudi government regarding its curricula, but Riyadh maintains it has already implemented such reforms, or needs more time to do so.
Such textbooks, and the Saudi refusal to completely reconfigure their curricula, hinder efforts at combating radicalism worldwide, since it was these same works that influenced Osama bin Laden, as well as many other Saudi-born terrorists.
That's not just the Hudson Institute's view. In an interview shortly before his death, Saudi Prince Muhammad Abdallah Al-Faysal called for curriculum reform, a report from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows. "Basically, it is the philosophy of our education. What do we want our child to be? We have produced terrorists who carried out bombings."
Al-Faysal died August 25.
To read the full Hudson report, click here.