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Critics of Saudi Academy Say Textbooks Promote Intolerance
by Valerie Strauss
Some textbooks used by an Islamic school in Fairfax County contain language intolerant of Jews and other groups as well as passages that could be construed as advocating violence, according to two reviews of the materials.
Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, director-general of the Islamic Saudi Academy, said he doubts that such language is in the textbooks but said he would remove offending material if found. He would not say whether he had read passages that might be considered offensive. The academy's books were revised over the summer, he said, and students have never been taught material advocating hate.
"We would never teach such things," he said. "If there is anything wrong in the books, just tell me, and we will fix them. No problem."
One review of academy textbooks was undertaken for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which recommended in October that the State Department close the school until it proves that it is not teaching a type of religious intolerance potentially dangerous to the United States.
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