State Dept. urged to probe Islamic school’s textbooks

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A congressman urged the State Department to investigate the content of textbooks at a Virginia Islamic Academy.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) wrote the department for the seventh time, but for the first time since Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, to ask that the department convene an independent panel to "definitively translate and interpret the textbooks and determine exactly what is being taught" at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia.

Wolf said in the letter that he was spurred by an Associated Press story on Thursday that stated that while the schools’ textbooks had been revised last year, they still contained enough "sensitive material to fuel critics who claime the books show intolerance toward those who do not follow strict interpretation toward Islam."

The school, which educates 900 students, overhauled their textbooks after the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a report stating that there were a number of problematic passages, including one saying "the Jews conspired against Islam and its people."

The new books remove those passages, but according to the AP still disparage Jewish and Christian scholars for rejecting "the true path of Islam" and warn Muslims to be careful in accepting party and wedding invitations from non-Muslims.

"The State Department has a role to play in this controversy and needs to help resolve the issue," Wolf said. "If there is still a problem, let’s address it. If not, let’s report that, too. The bottom line is there needs to be resolution to this issue. It’s time to settle this.”

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