School texts: It's OK to kill adulterers, polytheists, apostates

The Fairfax (Va.) County Board of Supervisors recently voted to continue leasing property to a Saudi-funded private Islamic school, despite the school using textbooks that condone killing adulterers and other enemies of Islam. Those who leave Islam are also fair game, the books say.

Review: Troubling passages in texts at Va. school
By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Associated Press Writer
McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Textbooks at a private Islamic school in northern Virginia teach students that it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, according to a federal investigation released Wednesday.
Other passages in the school’s textbooks state that “the Jews conspired against Islam and its people” and that Muslims are permitted to take the lives and property of those deemed “polytheists.”
The passages were found in selected textbooks used during the 2007-08 school year by the Islamic Saudi Academy, which teaches 900 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax and receives much of its funding from the Saudi government.
The academy has come under scrutiny from critics who allege that it fosters an intolerant brand of Islam similar to that taught in the conservative Saudi kingdom. In the review, the panel recommended that the school make all of its textbooks available to the State Department so changes can be made before the next school year.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a panel formed by Congress, last year recommended that the school be closed amid concerns that it promotes violence and too closely mimics the conservative Saudi educational system.
The commission made its recommendation last year to close the school even though it had not reviewed the textbooks. Now that some have been reviewed, “we feel more confident that the potential problems we flagged before really are there,” said the commission’s spokeswoman, Judith Ingram.
School officials have long denied that the academy fosters intolerance. It has acknowledged that some of the Saudi textbooks contain harsh language, but says that the texts have improved in recent years and are revised as needed by the academy before being distributed to students.
School officials and the State Department did not immediately respond to phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment Wednesday.
The commission said it obtained 17 of the academy’s textbooks through a variety of channels, including from members of Congress. The texts did appear to contain numerous revisions, including pages that were removed or passages that were whited out, but numerous troubling passages remained, according to the panel:
— The authors of a 12th-grade text on Koranic interpretation state that apostates (those who convert from Islam), adulterers and people who murder Muslims can be permissibly killed.
— The authors of a 12th-grade text on monotheism write that “(m)ajor polytheism makes blood and wealth permissible,” meaning that a Muslim can take with impunity the life and property of someone believed guilty of polytheism. According to the panel, the strict Saudi interpretation of polytheism includes Shiite and Sufi Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists.
— A social studies text offers the view that Jews were responsible for the split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims: “The cause of the discord: The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who sinfully and deceitfully professed Islam infiltrated (the Muslims).”
More generally, the panel found that the academy textbooks hold the view that the Muslim world was strong when united under a single caliph, the Arabic language and the Sunni creed, and that Muslims have grown weak because of foreign influence and internal divisions.
The commission’s findings issued come a month after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to extend the academy’s lease for its main campus, which sits on county property.
The county conducted its own study of the textbooks last year at the request of Supervisor Gerald Hyland, whose district encompasses the academy.
Hyland and the county never released results of what they had found, but Hyland said in approving the lease that he is comfortable with the school’s teachings, though he did so with a qualification.
“I would be less than frank if I didn’t tell you that the curriculum does contain references to the Quran, which, if taken out of context and read literally, would cause come concern,” Hyland said at the meeting at which the lease was extended.
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On the Net:
Islamic Saudi Academy: http://www.saudiacademy.net/
USCIRF Press Release: http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?optioncom—content&taskview&id2206 &Itemid 1

Updated: June 12, 2008 — 2:21 pm

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  1. The local government is RECEIVING money from this private school, right? As opposed to SPENDING taxpayer dollars on religious education that some folks might find offensive?

  2. “that some folks might find offensive…”

    Interesting choice of words, Jose.

    If this article is factual and the textbooks really do state that “the Jews conspired against Islam and its people” and that Muslims are permitted to take the lives and property of those deemed “polytheists,” then I imagine that most people would find them offensive… especially if worshiping the Father, Son and Holy Ghost makes one a “polytheist.”

    Again, assuming that this article is accurate, there are more issues here than whether the local government is spending or receiving money for this school.

  3. I wonder if legally they have to teach evolution in order to get funding? I believe there is a school in Texas-Institute for Creation Research that has come under fire recently for not teaching evolution.

  4. UK, don’t you find those things offensive? I certainly do, but then again I’m offended by lots of things.

    “…there are more issues here…”
    Such as? What is your suggestion for how the Fairfax County government should lease out its property, and with what conditions?

    Peach, which “they” are you talking about? This school doesn’t get funding. It gives funding. I understand that private schools (not receiving taxpayer dollars!) have a lot of latitude in what they teach. Someone correct me if this is wrong, but fundy Christian schools don’t have to mention evolution at all, much less teach that it is accepted scientific fact. They could teach the great turtle theory if they want. However, I suspect that most of the schools recognize and accept the reality that anyone who aspires to education beyond high school had better know some basic theory, even if they don’t subscribe to it.

  5. Jose:
    Is it just me, or do you take a condescending attitude with the majority of females? I was asking a legitimate question, for in order for the STATE to receive federal funding all schools in that state, have to be accredited by the No child Left Behind Act of 2001 – they are required to follow certain guidelines which most usually include theteaching of evolution. If this school does not follow certain guidelines, which include the education and qualifications of the teachers, then the WHOLE state as I understand the Act can lose their federal funding. In other words, teachers or schools cannot teach what THEY want on their own.

  6. No misogyny, Peach, and my response to you was intended to be much more neutral. (Indeed, you can and should read it that way.) I am, however, confused by your question and was trying to clear things up. The topic concerns a private school and a county government that is leasing a vacant property to the school. When you say “they”, it not at all clear which “they” you mean. If you mean the state government then you are talking about something completely different, something not mentioned in the article, the previous posts, or even in your original post.

  7. My concern is not with whether the school does or doesn’t teach evolution.I think there may be some confusion as to which school we are referring to.Let me be clear,I am writing about the Islamic school, not the Texas school.My concern is that a school of this nature is allowed to operate any place in the US & teach such hatred of other people.I am quite sure the founding fathers did not have any such teaching as this in mind when they wrote the article on freedom of religion into the constitution. If that means we have to allow this type of religious beliefs to be taught,private, or otherwise,then I say it is past time we make an amendment to the constitution.I do believe in freedom of religion,however I think there should not be allowed the teaching of violence or hatred toward any other group or nationality of people under any circumstances.If they practice anything else,then they should be shut down immeadiately & exiled from this country.I think your religious rights should end,when they infringe on someone elses rights. Religious or any other rights.

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