The American Textbook Council recently published a review on how many text books in public schools give a light touch to Middle Eastern history, Islam and Jihad. (FSM published it; you can find all five parts here.) If public school texts are alarming, what should we think about texts being provided by the Saudi government to children attending private Islamic academies?
The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) is taking action regarding such a school in Fairfax County, Virginia. They've asked Fairfax County Supervisors to delay the renewal of the Islamic Saudi Academy's (ISA) lease until a review of the school's curriculum has been completed by federal officials.
TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty said classroom materials provided by the Saudi government for use in schools in America, such as the academy in Virginia, "attempt to propagate Jihadist and incitement to violence against Americans and non-Muslims, particularly Jews."
Recently, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), one of the founders of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, asked President Bush to raise the issue of these materials during his meeting this week with Saudi King Abdullah.
Rep. Myrick released excerpts from text books provided by the Saudis to schools in America including an eighth grade text which said, "The apes are the Jews, the people of the Sabbath while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of the communion of Jesus."
A sixth grade text urged: "Just as Muslims were successful in the past when they came together in a sincere endeavor to evict the Christian crusaders from Palestine, so will the Arabs and Muslims emerge victorious, Allah willing, against the Jews and their allies if they stand together and fight a true jihad for Allah, for this is within Allah's power."
Mrs. Lafferty said Fairfax County Supervisors should wait until these texts used in this school, which is linked to the Saudi government's Washington embassy, have been thoroughly reviewed. "There is a lot we don't know about what is being taught there," Mrs. Lafferty said. "This is not about theology or religious speech unless you make the argument that violence and sedition are proscribed by Islam. This goes way beyond crying fire in a crowded theater. It is not protected speech. It is a crime to incite violence against Americans or against people of certain faiths."
TVC has sent a letter to members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors asking them to delay the ISA's lease renewal until the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the State Department finish reviewing the text books.
This is an issue that should concern all Americans, no matter what their faith or creed. In an effort to protect children and the American way of life, citizens should not only be aware of the existence of these texts, but should also find out if they are being used in Islamic academies in their communities. Freedom of speech is one thing; incitement of violence against Americans on their own soil is quite another.