Saudi Arabia has failed to remove a section of extremist content that promotes violence against Christians from the educational curriculum for its 2018-2019 school year.
According to International Christian Concern (ICC), the Muslim-majority nation had promised to remove all references to inciting religious hatred from its school textbooks by 2008. However, clearly, this has failed to happen. Indeed, earlier this year the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued a report which noted the presence of clear-cut incitement content found within the school curriculum.
“The Saudi government has not completed reforms to textbooks that propagate intolerance and violence; in fact, some of the most egregious content remained in textbooks in use during the current school year,” the report noted. The commission subsequently recommended that the United States government “fully engage the Saudi government to
take concrete action toward completing reforms” regarding the worrying texts, noting that the Saudis remove “inflammatory and intolerant content in government-issued textbooks.”
According to ICC, examples of the texts in question include the “demeaning non-Muslims and encouraging jihad against them” and children being “encouraged not to associate with non-Muslims.”
The commission recommended that the Saudi government be asked to “denounce publicly the continued use around the world of older versions of Saudi textbooks and other materials that promote hatred and intolerance” and “to make every attempt to retrieve previously distributed materials that contain intolerance.”
Christian persecution charity Open Doors USA lists Sunni Muslim-majority Saudi Arabia as the 12th most persecuted nation on earth when it comes to the oppression of Christians.
“Expatriate Christians make up the majority of the Christian population in Saudi Arabia, but they are severely restricted in their ability to gather for worship or share their faith with Muslims,” Open Doors noted in a fact sheet on the oil-rich nation.
According to the persecution watchdog, all Christians living in the Arabian nation, “whether Saudis or foreigners,” are under threat of “imprisonment, physical abuse and threats on their lives” at any given time.