UPDATE, June 27: Patrick Poole has posted an explosive disclosure at Pajamas Media: - that while ISA operated for almost seven years as an entity separate from the Saudi Embassy, ISA apparently never filed federal tax returns required of all operating non-profit and for-profit corporations. Patrick couldn't post an important document in that article, so he asked me to post ISA's Corporate History file from the Virginia records, clearly showing that it was an active corporation from early 1998 to the end of 2004. As such, it should have either have filed Form 1120, the federal tax return for for-profit corporations, or Form 990, the federal return for nonprofits. Since the end of 2004, ISA has apparently been a subsidiary of the Saudi Embassy.
The controversy surrounding the Islamic Saudi Academy of Virginia continues to grow. Rep. Frank Wolf, the ranking Republican of the appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the State Department, wrote Secretary of State Rice (Acrobat file of the letter) to express his serious concern. "It is well known that Saudi Arabia promotes the radical Wahhabi interpretation of Islam within its own borders and has financed radical clerics abroad. Lawrence Wright's Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Looming Tower, points out that "Saudi Arabia, which constitutes only 1 percent of the world's Muslim population...supports 90 percent of the expenses of the entire faith," including "thousands of religious schools around the globe, staffed with Wahhabi imams and teachers." The ISA is funded through the Saudi government, which also funds radical madrassas along the turbulent Pakistani borders." And he sharply criticized the State Department in a handwritten note, "The State Department is not doing its duty." I recommend Steven Emerson's new article on this issue for more history of the State Department's inaction, as well as today's CQ Homeland Security story on this issue.
But the ISA is just the latest in a long line of examples of the Saudis' dissemination of Wahhabist propaganda in the United States, and Congress has already sharply criticized the Saudis for it. Almost three years ago, on November 8, 2005, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled, "Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe in the War on Terror?" to review how the Saudis spread such literature in mosques and schools throughout the United States. You can read the testimony delivered at the hearing by Steven Emerson, Nina Shea, and others at this website and you can download the full transcript from here. Note the defense of the Saudis by their designated representative at the hearing, Anthony Cordesman of CSIS.
The focus of the hearing was the January 2005 report issued by Freedom House and edited by Ms. Shea, "Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques," on the widespread dissemination of Wahhabist propaganda in American mosques and schools. We were the first website to publicize that study in January 2005 and continued to review and discuss its implications here and here. In March of 2005, 15 Senators wrote Secretary Rice, citing the report and urging her to persuade the Saudi government to stop the distribution of such material.
The continued use of the offensive textbooks at the ISA is indicative of the Saudis' willingness to export Wahhabism without any meaningful action by the State Department to prevent or halt it. To be taken seriously, Congress will have to demand the removal of such literature and enact that demand into law.