March 27, 2014 | Quote

Obama Asked to Pressure Saudis to Revise Offending Textbooks

Citing paragraphs that disparage Christians, label Jews “pigs,” and teach that execution is an Islamic response to gay sex, some Americans are asking President Obama to demand that Saudi Arabia remove religious bigotry from its official school textbooks.

Obama visits Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Friday (March 28), an opportunity, textbook critics say, to argue that these primers fuel Islamic militancy both countries have pledged to counter.

Led by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank, American groups are also pressuring the president to release a 2012 State Department report that details offensive material within the books.

“It’s an issue that affects the security of the American people and affects religious groups to which a large number of Americans belong,” said David Weinberg, a senior fellow at FDD. And the State Department report, he continued, was funded with taxpayer dollars. “The American people have a very solid justification for wanting to see the contents of that report.”

“The U.S. has been urging the Saudis to address this issue for over a decade,” Weinberg said. “But students going through the Saudi educational system are still being indoctrinated with these ideas. It is evident that the quiet diplomatic approach that has been preferred by the State Department has been a formula for failure.”

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