THE Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs and Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom released an important study yesterday that documents how Saudi Arabian government schools are still teaching young Saudis to hate non-Muslims. This comes after unbelievable claims by the Saudi government that these textbooks had been changed post 9/11 and supposedly no longer carried the previous hateful passages that warn Saudis not to befriend so-called Christian and Jewish ‘infidels’.
The authors of the study looked at a set of 12 textbooks currently being used in Saudi schools from the elementary level up to high school, and found among other things that they:
* Condemn and denigrate the majority of Sunni Muslims who do not follow the Wahhabi understanding of Islam, and call them deviants and descendants of polytheists.
* Command Muslims to “hate” Christians, Jews, “polytheists” and other unbelievers, including non-Wahhabi Muslims, though they were told not to treat them unjustly.
* Teach that Jews and Christians are enemies of the (Muslim) believers.
* Instruct students not to “greet”, “befriend”, “imitate”, “show loyalty to,” “be courteous to,” or “respect” non-believers.
I think that the Saudi government is facing fierce opposition from religious conservatives who do not want a single word changed in textbooks. Officials are telling Americans what they want to hear, and are never admitting publicly that they are having a hard time actually changing the religious curriculum being taught here. As usual this is a tussle between the modernizers and the conservatives, and with the pact that the Saudi rulers have made with the religious conservatives to remain in power, I think we are going to see much more of this deception and double-talk.
Unfortunately, this means that the children of many level-headed Saudis will continue to be exposed to this rubbish, damage that will have to be undone by parents at home. It’s too bad that most Saudis do not have the economic means that some of my wealthy Saudis friends have to take their kids completely out of the reach of intolerant Saudis by sending them to American schools locally or sending them abroad to boarding schools.
Nottingham Crime Capital of England
ANOTHER new [study](http://www.reform.co.uk/filestore/pdf/Urban crime rankings, Reform, 2006.pdf) this time on crime rates in the United Kingdom by the think-tank Reform had Nottingham City up in arms yesterday at being designated the “crime capital” of England and Wales.
The study points out that Nottingham has the highest per capita murder and vehicle theft rates, according to the latest crime statistics.
After having lived in Nottingham from January to April of this year, I don’t find this surprising. While I never felt personally at risk, I could see that the deteriorating urban center of Nottingham was in decay and had a high number of drug addicts who are usually the most involved in crime.
The study found that Nottingham had 115.5 crimes per 1,000 population, while the safest city, Southend, had only 30.9 crimes per 1,000 population.
The head of Nottingham’s City Council, Jon Collins, was understandably livid at the study’s results, saying: “There are lies, damned lies and statistics. I demand that the report is withdrawn until they can get their facts right, before it does any further damage to Nottingham, its businesses, its universities and its reputation.”
Reform says it stands by its results and reiterated its recommendation that local police forces should be held accountable in bringing down crime rates, something that is not being done yet. Only then says Reform, will crime rates come down.
****Abuse of Maids Continues
FINALLY, an item in a Kenyan newspaper caught my eye. “Kenya: Woman Recounts Bitter Ordeal in Saudi Arabia” recounts how a woman from Mombasa went to Riyadh to work as a maid but was forced to complain to the police after her Saudi employer continually abused her both verbally and psychologically:
“Nuru Said Mohamed, who arrived in Mombasa on Monday evening, said working as a housemaid in Saudi Arabia was an ordeal.“'It is as if the citizens of Saudi Arabia have a right to mistreat foreigners. Once you work in their homes you become a slave and you are subjected to verbal and psychological abuse,'" Nuru said."She said some Saudi nationals are rude to foreigners working with them and they shout orders and do not expect to be questioned. "When matters got worse I refused to continue working there. The only option I had since I did not have my passport - it was detained by my employer - was to report the abuse to the police," Nuru, who was released by the Saudi Arabian police last Saturday, said."
It is a sad fact that the abuse of domestic servants by some Saudi employers continues unabated. The Saudi government should severally punish abusive employers by imprisoning and fining them. That is the only way that the message that abusing maids is not okay will be ingrained in the minds of employers. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will happen sometime soon.