US House Subcommittee Hearing: Saudi educational textbooks inspire many terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda

American Herald Tribune– US Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing on Wednesday was dedicated to the disussion about the role of Saudi Arabia’s education curriculum in fueling terrorism globally.

Chairman Ted Poe’s opening statement provided a bird’s-eye view of the issue. Although Chairman Poe believes Saudi Arabia is a crucial ally for the US in the fight against terrorism, he confessed “the Saudis still have much more they need to do at home to counter the sources of extremism in the region”.

Poe approved the idea that Saudi Wahhabism is the source of terrorism by saying:

The battle against terrorism will ultimately have to be fought and won on the battlefield of ideas. Saudi Arabia has simply not done enough to defeat extremist ideology. The Kingdom is playing the role of both arsonist and firefighter when it comes to Islamic extremism. Nowhere is this more evident than the textbooks Saudi Arabia produces to teach its youth.

For far too long Saudi Arabia’s education curriculum has inspired the very ideology that is at the root of many terrorist organizations like ISIS and alQaeda. In fact, ISIS adopted official Saudi textbooks for its schools in 2015 until the terrorist group could publish its own.

Saudi “export of hateful material through Saudi-funded schools abroad has helped spread the toxic ideology to more tolerant and open Muslim communities in countries such as Kosovo and Indonesia”, he said.

The Saudi government had promised the U.S. that a reform of its educational materials would be completed by 2008, but nearly a decade later inflammatory content in Saudi textbooks abounds. Chairman added:

While the Kingdom has repeatedly pledged to remove extremist content from its curriculum, troubling language remains in many of the most recent editions of Saudi textbooks. In 2006 the Saudis committed to eliminate all passages that promoted hatred towards any religion by 2008.
Chairman Ted Poe concluded his remarks by saying, “While we appreciate Riyadh’s contribution to our overall counterterrorism efforts in the region, we must hold them accountable for their role in fueling the very extremism we are trying to combat. It is in both our countries’ interest. In the fight against terrorism, we all need to be on the same page. And that’s just the way it is.”

For other speakers addressed the subcomittee on the issue. Ms. Nina Shea, director of Center for Religious Freedom from Hudson Institute; David A. Weinberg, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; The Honorable Frank Wolf, distinguished Senior Fellow from 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and a former U.S. Representative; Douglas Johnston, Ph.D., President Emeritus of International Center for Religion and Diplomacy lectured in the subcomittee.