May 30, 2020

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Saudi textbooks say Jews turned into "real monkeys"

IMPACT-SE did a study of Saudi textbooks. 

While they say that the textbooks are much less hateful than they were in 2017, they still have some pretty bad stuff.

Here’s an excerpt showing both how bad it is now and how much worse it was two years ago:

Jews Turned into “Real Monkeys” [by Allah]
The curriculum interprets a Qur’anic surah (A’raf 7:163–66), which narrates the story of one group of Jews who (in pre-Islamic times) did not respect the Sabbath and set fishing nets to catch fish during the day. The text refers to the changing of a group of Jews by Allah into “real monkeys” ruling out other, gentler interpretations that usually view this as a metaphor.

139 3. Falsehood of the deception leading to the disruption of the law of Allah, breaking limits (hudud) 140 set by Him, and performing what He forbids. The way the Jews acted when they threw their nets into the sea on Friday for fishing, and then pulled the nets out on Sunday. And they say: ‘we did not do anything on Saturday [the Sabbath].’ 6. Allah punished [these] Jewish oppressors by turning them into real monkeys. Tafsir 1, Grades 10–12 (Joint Track), 2019, p. 73. 

While one can find more examples of extreme anti-Jewish polemic in this Qur’anic commentary textbook, the 2017 edition of this very same book includes more such examples. In other words, there is a certain toning down of rhetoric even in pure religious polemic that mimics hate messaging.

Examples of the removed subject matter follow: 

 The Islamic nation is the best of all nations, and their greatest in status. It carried the torch of guidance, led humanity to glory and eminence, eliminated superstition and charlatanism, and established the rules of justice. It has received this in return for harsh sacrifices, the most important of which are faith in Allah, care for the guidance of Allah’s creation, and the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice. For the People of the Book to drink from this benevolence, and be lighted by this light, they should only believe in Allah as God, Islam as religion, and Muhammad as messenger. And if they refuse, as a proper punishment they deserve humiliation and servility and the anger of the MightyTafsir 2, Grades 10–12 (Humanities), 2017, p. 78.

The textbook then explains that in this particular case the People of the Book are specifically the Jews. While this text has been removed in the 2019 edition, the idea that Islam is the one and only legitimate religion is presented elsewhere in the curriculum and is not meant to be merely theological, but has practical dimensions.

(h/t Alexi)

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