Monday, February 07, 2005


NYSun Editorial

In his inaugural address, President Bush told Americans that “We have seen our vulnerability — and we have seen its deepest source,” which he identified as “ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder.” If this is true — and we think it is — then Saudi Arabia must be counted among America’s chief enemies. No other country or organization is as responsible as the Saudi government for publishing and promoting hate-filled, violent propaganda abroad. The Saudis’ brand of fundamentalist Islam, Wahhabism, is perhaps the greatest obstacle to promoting democracy in the Muslim world. As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Senator Kyl, has concluded,“A growing body of accepted evidence and expert research demonstrates that the Wahhabi ideology that dominates, finances and animates many groups here in the United States, indeed is antithetical to the values of tolerance, individualism and freedom as we conceive these things.”
On Friday, Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom released an important new report that adds to this research.The report, “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques,” compiles the results of a year-long study of documents published or distributed by the government of Saudi Arabia and available at mosques throughout America. “We have ascertained that as of December 2004, Saudi-connected resources and publications on extremist ideology remain common reading and educational material in some of America’s main mosques,” explain the researchers, who compiled documents from more than a dozen American mosques — including a prominent one in New York, Brooklyn’s Al-Farouq Mosque. The mosques maintain libraries or racks of literature for parishioners, and often run religious schools for Muslims.
The doctrine they teach is one of unending conflict. “It is basic Islam to believe that everyone who does not embrace Islam is an unbeliever and must be called an unbeliever, and that they are enemies to Allah, his Prophet, and the believers,” reads one document published by the Saudi government and available to worshippers at a San Diego mosque. “That is why the one who does not call the Jews and the Christians unbelievers is himself an unbeliever.”
Unsurprisingly, the Saudi government also publishes and distributes anti-Semitic tracts. It may be a bit of a surprise to find them in Brooklyn, where researchers found a book, The Truth About the Original Sin, published in English by the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh, which says of the Jews, “They broke their Covenant; they rejected Allah’s guidance as conveyed by His messengers; they killed Allah’s messengers and incurred a double guilt which included murder and deliberate defiance of Allah’s Law; and they imagined themselves arrogantly self-sufficient, which means a blasphemous closing of their hearts forever against the admission of Allah’s grace.” Not only that, but “by means of usury and fraud they oppressed their fellow men.”
A Saudi government textbook for seventh-graders, found at the Saudi-sponsored Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., instructs children that Jews “are worse than donkeys.” A fourth-grade text, available at the Islamic Center of America in East Orange, New Jersey, teaches pupils about the “sinful conspiracy” of Israel and promises that “the Muslims will not rest until they cut off this disease and purify the land of Palestine from the plague of Zionism.”
Saudi works on Islamic theology also preach the incompatibility of liberal democracy and Islam. One book published by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, also found at the Al-Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn, even authorizes Muslims to kill converts to Islam who tolerate homosexuality.
More threatening is the danger of “foreign ideologies,” such as human rights and democracy. “The freedom to which the enemies of the religious laws call us requires a coup against Islam and a revolution against the Prophet Mohammed,” explains a publication of the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America, which was at one time sponsored by the Saudi government.
We all know where these ideas are supposed to lead. A book for high school juniors, published by the Saudi Ministry of Education and accessible at the Islamic Center of Oakland in California, makes it explicit: “To be true Muslims, we must prepare and be ready for jihad in Allah’s way. It is the duty of the citizen and the government. The military education is glued to faith and its meaning, and the duty to follow it.”
We trust that most Americans are not as easily susceptible to the Saudi government’s hateful propaganda against Christians, Jews, women, and other of their neighbors as the Saudis may think.Teaching such hatred to children, however, may be more dangerous. But there is a more important lesson here. As the director of the Center for Religious Freedom, Nina Shea, points out in the report’s introduction, a government that advocates religious hatred violates the religious freedom and tolerance provisions of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If such unlawful incitement is going on within America’s borders, one can be certain to find violent, Saudi-sponsored tracts at schools and mosques worldwide. If Mr. Bush is to be serious about combating the hate-filled ideologies that promote terrorism, he cannot avoid a confrontation with the dictators in Saudi Arabia.

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