Seven attempts by U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) to have the U.S. State Department initiate an investigation into controversial textbooks used at two Islamic schools in Northern Virginia have gone unanswered.
In his seventh letter in less than a year to the department, Wolf calls continued inaction on the part of the department "inexcusable."
The Islamic Saudi Academy, or ISA, has close ties with the government of Saudi Arabia, which Wolf says charges the State Department with overseeing any investigation of it, under the Foreign Missions Act of 1982.
"The Saudi ambassador is the head of the school," said Wolf.
ISA has two campuses. One in Alexandria on Richmond Highway, and another in Fairfax on Pope's Head Road.
Material in some textbooks used at both campuses has been called "intolerant" and "shocking" by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and by Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the The Institute for Gulf Affairs, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C., think tank.
According to Al-Ahmed, one example is a 10th-grade work that "indulges in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories."
Wolf said, "Textbooks used in Saudi Arabia are very anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and pretty hate-filled."
While some textbook material has reportedly been changed due to pressure from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Wolf says an independent investigation of the textbooks and their overarching use at the academy has yet to be initiated.
"We're just asking that there be an independent evaluation by someone that's not paid by the Saudi Academy," Wolf said.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on March 12, Wolf wrote: "According to AP, 'while the Islamic Saudi Academy deleted some of the most contentious passages from the texts, copies provided to the Associated Press show that enough sensitive material remains to fuel critics who claim the books show intolerance toward those who do not follow strict interpretations of Islam.'"
According to the Associated Press report cited by Wolf, along with federal court documents, at least three graduates of the academy have been involved in some questionable activities since leaving the academy.
In 2001, two former students, Mohammed El-Yacoubi and Mohammed Osman Idris, were refused entry to Israel when El-Yacoubi was suspected of being part of a "martyrdom operation" there.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a 1999 ISA valedictorian, was convicted in federal court in 2005 of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate former President George W. Bush.
"I think you can't ignore this," Wolf told the Times. "The school is now even asking for an expansion, and yet this cloud remains over it. You don't want to put a cloud over the students that are going there, and I'm sure there are a lot of good people who go. If someone can just say that 'we looked at this and we are truly independent and not paid by anyone and everything seems OK,' then this whole thing will go away. But to date, we have not been able to get that done."
Calls made to both the State Department and ISA were not returned by the Times' deadline.