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Fairfax County leaders asked U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday to determine whether the county should continue leasing property to the Islamic Saudi Academy following controversy surrounding the school's teachings.

With unanimous support from the county's Board of Supervisors, Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) sent a letter to Rice "formally requesting" that the State Department provide direction regarding the county's one-year lease renewal, approved last month, with the Saudi Arabian government for operation of the academy.

"As a local governmental entity, Fairfax County is not capable of determining whether textbooks, written in Arabic, contain language that promotes violence or religious intolerance, or is otherwise offensive to the interests of the United States," Connolly wrote. "The county simply does not employ the linguists and scholars required to make such a determination, and more important, such an effort is well beyond the scope and responsibility of local government."

At issue are recent reviews of teaching materials concluding that some textbooks used by the Islamic school in Fairfax contain language intolerant of Jews and other groups as well as passages that could be construed as advocating violence.


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