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News Brief


A federal panel asked the U.S. State Department to shut down a Saudi school in Virginia because its textbooks advocate violence against and the killing of Jews.

In a report released last week, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom criticized schools run by the Saudi government throughout the world, making particular mention of the Islamic Saudi Academy in Fairfax.

The commission’s 2006 analysis of Saudi textbooks found a ninth-grade book that said violence toward Jews, Christians and others is sanctioned by God, and a 12th-grade text that reads “the hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.”

The school’s acting director-general, Abdulrahman Alghofaili, told the Washington Post that school officials had ripped the offending pages from their Saudi-sponsored textbooks during a curriculum revision last summer, but the Saudi government has prohibited the commission from examining the books.

Thirty percent of the school’s 1,000-student, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade population is Saudi, and the school is funded mostly by the Saudi government. The Saudi ambassador serves as the chairman of the school’s board of directors.

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) plans to introduce a resolution in the House of Representatives requiring the State Department to close the school, which has two campuses, until the textbooks can be seen.

As the academy is operated by the Saudi government, it requires permission from the State Department to be in the United States.

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