Wednesday, February 27, 2002
Well, I missed it earlier in the week, but in Monday's Washington Post there was an article on some of the Muslim charter schools operating in the United States.
The article is disturbing. The kind of brainwashing and indoctrination that was once thought limited to madrassas in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia has come to America.
Eleventh-graders at the elite Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia study energy and matter in physics, write out differential equations in precalculus and read stories about slavery and the Puritans in English.
Then they file into their Islamic studies class, where the textbooks tell them the Day of Judgment can't come until Jesus Christ returns to Earth, breaks the cross and converts everyone to Islam, and until Muslims start attacking Jews.
Some of the Islamic schools appear to try to be teaching respect for other religions. However, they are burdened by a lack of Islamic studies books that speak of tolerance, instead having to use ones that might be found in the schools of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. But these schools are trying. But there's one exception -- a Washington-area school funded by the government of Saudi Arabia.
The Islamic Saudi Academy does not require that U.S. history or government be taught, offering Arabic social studies as an alternative. Officials there said that only Saudis who intend to return home do not take U.S. history, though a handful of U.S.-born students who plan to stay in this country said they opted against it, too.
School officials would not allow reporters to attend classes. But a number of students described the classroom instruction and provided copies of textbooks.
Ali Al-Ahmed, whose Virginia-based Saudi Institute promotes religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia, has reviewed numerous textbooks used at the academy and said many passages promote hatred of non-Muslims and Shiite Muslims.
The 11th-grade textbook, for example, says one sign of the Day of Judgment will be that Muslims will fight and kill Jews, who will hide behind trees that say: "Oh Muslim, Oh servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him."
Several students of different ages, all of whom asked not to be identified, said that in Islamic studies, they are taught that it is better to shun and even to dislike Christians, Jews and Shiite Muslims.
Some teachers "focus more on hatred," said one teenager, who recited by memory the signs of the coming of the Day of Judgment. "They teach students that whatever is kuffar [non-Muslim], it is okay for you" to hurt or steal from that person.
And the Saudis are supposed to be our friends?