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Inflammatory Textbooks

A Saudi-funded school in Virginia is facing harsh criticism for using textbooks containing inflammatory material about religious martyrdom and comparing Jews and Christians to apes and pigs, according to a Washington Post review of the books.

The pre-K-12 Islamic Saudi Academy, which serves Washington-area students from Muslim communities, including the children of Saudi diplomats, has used the controversial textbooks since the mid-1990’s, but said they ordered revisions in 2006. Administrators whited out words, cut paragraphs, and created makeshift books but admit they may have missed inappropriate content. They promised to have a new line of books for the coming academic year.

Meanwhile, the State Department is now involved after the city of Fairfax questioned whether the county should continue leasing property to the school. Last month, a U.S. religion commission also called on the State Department to close the school, criticizing it for advocating violence and teaching religious intolerance.

The State Department has not yet responded to the county’s request. “We will wait to see what changes have been made,” said department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos.

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