Reps. Weiner, Crowley and Berkley called on the Saudi government to stop planting what they said were seeds of hate in Saudi children through religious textbooks
Three U.S. lawmakers appealed to the Saudi government Wednesday to stop using religious textbooks that they say promote hatred and religious intolerance.
The appeal from the three Democrats came on the eve of President Obama’s much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world during a five-day journey to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in an attempt to smooth over bumpy relations between the U.S. and Arab countries. Obama met Wednesday afternoon with Saudi King Abdullah.
Reps. Anthony Weiner and Joseph Crowley of New York and Shelley Berkley of Nevada held a news conference to call on the Saudi government to stop planting what they said were seeds of hate in Saudi children through religious textbooks that teach controversial lessons, such as the hour of judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.
“This is not some rogue document,” Weiner said. “This is the position of the Saudi government. … If we’re going to solve the generational conflicts, it’s important not to hate one another.”
Congress has tackled controversial textbooks before. Last year, a congressional report denounced portions of religious textbooks used at an Islamic school in Northern Virginia.
The school, in response to the report, deleted from its texts some of the most contentious passages, including references to Jihad, killing infidels and hatred of Jews and Christians. But critics say the revised books still are “toxic” and contain more subtle references, such as criticism of secular forms of government.
Rep. Berkley on Wednesday declared that peace won’t come to the Middle East until this issue is resolved.
“We hope this will be part of the discussion President Obama has with the Saudi leaders,” Berkley said.
Rep. Weiner urged the Saudi government to act immediately.
“What they say is that they’ll fix it next year, next year, next year,” he said. “But the time is up.”