Why Saudis Send Their Kids to the Islamic Saudi Academy
by Cinnamon Stillwell • Jun 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm
For some time Campus Watch has followed the dubious goings-on of the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA), a Saudi government-funded private pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade school in Fairfax County, Virginia geared towards the children of Saudi citizens. A June 3, 2013, Arab News op-ed is the latest addition to our archive.
Predictably, the author, retired Saudi Navy Commodore Abdulateef Al-Mulhim--who, to be fair, once wrote an excellent article on anti-Israelism in the Arab world--has nothing but praise for ISA, even though it is the subject of an ongoing U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) investigation into its Islamist curriculum. His glowing description provides an inadvertent glimpse into ISA's true purpose [emphasis added]:
In my opinion, this academy is . . . much needed by the Saudi citizens living abroad who want . . . their kids to receive a well-rounded education that includes parts of the curriculum they are used to back in Saudi Arabia.
What does such a curriculum include? According to a 2006 study cited by Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and a USCIRF Commissioner, Saudi government textbooks used at ISA:
[A]ssert that it is permissible for a Muslim to kill an 'apostate,' an 'adulterer,' those practicing 'major polytheism,' and homosexuals. They promote global jihad as an 'effort to wage war against the unbelievers,' including for the purpose of 'calling [infidels] to the faith.' They continue to teach that 'the hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,' that Shiite practices amount to 'polytheism' (see above), that the Christian Crusades never ended, and that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are historical fact.
Despite claims to the contrary from the Saudi Ministry of Education, a 2008 update to the study reveals that little has changed. ISA itself asserts that the USCIRF reports relied upon "mistranslated and misinterpreted texts," but due to stonewalling and disputes over the method of delivery, the few textbooks that have been examined contained hasty, incomplete, or nonexistent revisions.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ISA's troublesome track record. Among its graduates are a valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who was convicted in 2003 for joining al-Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush, and former students Mohammed Osman Idris and Mohammed el-Yacoubi, who were denied entry to Israel in December, 2001 under suspicion of planning to carry out a suicide bombing; Idris was eventually charged in the U.S. with lying to a federal grand jury investigating terrorism.
All of which sounds exactly like what students "are used to back in Saudi Arabia."