*DUBAI, UAE: *Saudi Arabia has made little progress in removing textbook content that promotes violence and hatred towards religious minorities and others, a US government watchdog said, encouraging Riyadh to take the issue more seriously.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, currently on his first visit to the United States as heir apparent, has promised to promote a more moderate form of Islam under plans to modernize the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.
The Saudi education minister last week said the country was revamping its education curriculum to eradicate any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence and dismiss anyone working in the sector who sympathizes with the banned group.
In a new study of select textbooks in use in Saudi Arabia, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said in a statement on Saturday it had compared twelve 2017-2018 high school religion textbooks with versions from 2012-2014 and found that the current books contained not only numerous intolerant and “inflammatory” passages but also several passages specifically thought to have been removed from earlier books.
It said examples of intolerant content included passages extolling war – as fighting against non-Muslims, prescribing execution of apostates and those who mock God or the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and demeaning non-Muslims and warning Muslims against associating with them. AGENCIES