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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 05, 2003

JEWS ARE ‘WICKED' IN SAUDI TEXTBOOKS

Such good friends
WASHINGTON - Saudi schoolchildren are fed a steady diet of hatred toward Jews and Westerners in government-sponsored textbooks, raising new questions about the desert kingdom's public commitment to moderation, a new report yesterday showed.
The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace and the American Jewish Committee released a shocking analysis of 93 books that were part of the curricula of more than 2,000 Saudi schools in first through 10th grades from 1999 through 2002.

The report concluded that the books, supplied by the government's Ministry of Education, promote anti-Semitism and intolerance toward Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of speech.

The schoolbooks analyzed in the report portray Islam as the only true religion and claim other religions are false.

Israel and Jews are frequently denounced as "wicked," "sly" and "crooked," and maps in geography books label Israel as occupied Palestine.

"Now Palestine is occupied by the Jews, a people of treachery and betrayal who have gathered there from every place, Poland, Spain, America and elsewhere. Their end, by God's will, is perdition," read an eighth-grade dictation exercise. Christianity and Western ideas are often given similar treatment in the Saudi textbooks, as history and geography books are filled with passages about the evils of the Crusaders. The books say the current spread of Western ideals represents a danger to all Muslims.