March 24, 2014 | Press Release

FDD Report Calls on Obama to Urge Reform in Riyadh as Religious Incitement Persists in Saudi Schools

FDD Press Release


WASHINGTON – Though first noted as problematic more than a decade ago by the Department of State, incitement and hatred continues to be taught from government textbooks to students in Saudi Arabia. Today, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) released a monograph exploring why a 2011 U.S. government-commissioned study on the subject has been withheld from the public, what is being taught in Saudi schools today, and how official incitement impacts U.S. national security.

In interviews with current and former U.S. officials as well as leading voices from human rights organizations, FDD senior fellow Dr. David Andrew Weinberg examines the link between official incitement in textbooks and U.S. national security, how structural challenges at the Department of State have encouraged officials to downgrade concerns about the textbook problem, and what can be done to make a course correction.

“The hate speech so rampant in Saudi textbooks should be publicly addressed by the president while in Riyadh,” Weinberg said. “Doing so would put hardliners on notice that even at this low point in U.S.-Saudi relations, the president will not shy away from affirming pluralistic American values and seeking reforms in the name of our national security.”

Weinberg, who previously served as a Democratic Professional Staff Member at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, works primarily on issues relevant to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. His research in this area focuses on energy security, counterterrorism, alliance transparency, and human rights.

Download the full report here (PDF).

About the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 policy institute focusing on foreign policy and national security. Founded in 2001, FDD combines policy research, democracy and counterterrorism education, strategic communications and investigative journalism in support of its mission to promote pluralism, defend democratic values and fight the ideologies that drive terrorism. Visit our website at and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Media Contact:

Josh Silberberg, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
[email protected]