That's how the New York Times titled an article by John F. Burns whose by-line certifies not only the absolute truth of the report but also its importance. (Reuters distributed a dispatch on the same subject on its press service.)
The story actually originated in a 30 minute B.B.C. "Panorama" television documentary about curriculum content in 40 part-time Islamic schools in Great Britain. And you can bet that the B.B.C. would have preferred to walk away from the project. But, since the schools were affiliated with the Saudia Arabian embassy and licensed--as schools in Britain are--by the ministry of education, it was stuck, so to speak, with the program.
Would you like to sever at the ankle or the wrist? Executioner's choice. A progressive society.
Here are parts of Burns' report:
A British network of more than 40 part-time Islamic schools and clubs with 5,000 students has been teaching from a Saudi Arabian government curriculum that contains anti-Semitic and homophobic views, including a textbook that asks children to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews, according to a BBC documentary broadcast on Monday.
The 30-minute “Panorama” program quoted the Saudi government-supplied textbook as saying that Jews “looked like monkeys and pigs,” and that Zionists set out to achieve “world domination.” The program quoted a separate part of the curriculum — for children as young as 6 — saying that someone who is not a believer in Islam at death would be condemned to “hellfire.”[...]
One of the textbooks, according to the BBC program, prescribed execution as the penalty for gay sex, and outlined differing viewpoints as to whether death should be by stoning, immolation by fire or throwing offenders off a cliff. Another set out the punishments prescribed by Shariah law for theft, including amputation of hands and feet. A BBC video accompanying an article on the program’s Web site showed a textbook illustration of a hand and a foot marked to show where amputations should be made.
The choice of brutal punishment for gay sex at least leaves free will to the executioner. It would be terrible--wouldn't it?--if he would have preferred stoning unto death but was forced to throw the offenders off a cliff.
I'll not discuss the offenses to Jews. After all, anti-Semitism is so in vogue now and I don't really want to go against the grain.
Michael Gove, the minister of education in the new conservative government, was shocked, positively shocked by the report. But he said:
“Saudi Arabia is a sovereign country,” [Mr. Gove] said in a statement issued as the program was broadcast. “We have no desire or wish to intervene in the decisions that the Saudi government makes in its own education system. But we are clear that we cannot have any anti-Semitic material of any kind being used in English schools.”
A British cleric made his own delicately weak excuses.
Neal Robinson, a theology professor at Leeds University who has written widely about the Koran and Islamic teachings, said in the BBC program that the material cited from the textbooks was taken from ancient texts, and added: “To present it cold, as it is here, as part of the teaching of Islam, is not wise. In the wrong hands, yes, I think it is ammunition for anti-Semitism.”
This is the country to whose king President Obama truckled.
P.S. I wonder what delicacies one would find in the curricula of Islamic schools--especially Wahabi schools--in the United States. But, frankly, I really don't know. Maybe this subject would interest the good and high-minded folk at public television. Let's make a bet.