Monday, November 22, 2010

Brody's Notes... From The BBC: Islamic Schools Teach Students Penalty For Gay Sex Is Execution

By Brody Levesque (Washington DC) NOV 22 | In a broadcast of the BBC's Panorama programme airing tonight, the BBC News sent an uncover young Saudi researcher to investigate the curriculum that is being taught to school age children in a network of 40 Saudi schools. The BBC investigation found evidence that one of the primary sources used in classes teaches Muslim schoolchildren anti-Semitic and homophobic material from a Saudi textbook. The text book graphically illustrates how the hands and feet of thieves are chopped off as punishment for thieves and teaches that the penalty for Gay sex is execution.
When questioned by the BBC, an official of the Saudi Embassy said that there were no official ties to the schools and did not endorse them. However, a building in west London where Panorama obtained one of the text books is owned by the Saudi government. A spokesman for the schools, the Director of Education for the Saudi Students' Schools and Clubs, confirmed that the Saudi Cultural Bureau, which is an official function of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, had authority over the network.
In a segment of the broadcast  BBC correspondent John Ware reports:
Pupils at Islamic schools across Britain are being taught how to chop off a criminal's hand and that Jews are conspiring to take over the world, a BBC investigation has found.
Up to 5000 pupils aged between six and 18 are being taught Sharia law punishments using "weekend-school" text-books which claim those who do not believe in Islam will be subjected to "hellfire" in death.
A text book for 15-year-olds advises: "For thieves their hands will be cut off for a first offence, and their foot for a subsequent offence."
"The specified punishment of the thief is cutting off his right hand at the wrist. Then it is cauterised to prevent him from bleeding to death," it added.
Young pupils are warned that the punishment for engaging in homosexual acts is death by stoning, burning with fire or throwing off a cliff and that the "main goal" of the Jews is to "have control over the world and its resources."
The BBC obtained 12 textbooks representing the principal course syllabus taught students, which was shown to an expert on Islamic law and the Qur'an, Neal Robinson, who said the context in which the materials are presented comes with risks.
"To present it cold, as it seems to be here, just part of the teaching of Islam, no it's not wise. In the wrong hands I think it is... ammunition for anti-Semitism."
One Saudi embassy official had objected, stating in a written response, that such materials were often taken out of context and often referred to historical descriptions.
The UK's Minister of Education, Michael Gove, MP,  told the Panorama:
"I have no desire or wish to intervene in the decisions that the Saudi government makes in its own education system. But I'm clear that we cannot have anti-Semitic material of any kind being used in English schools."
According to the minister, the UK's government school inspectorate Ofsted was looking into the possible regulation and inspection of out-of-hours schools and clubs. At present, he told the BBC's John Ware, the Saudi part-time schools do not fall within Ofsted's mandate.
"Ofsted are doing some work in this area, they'll be reporting to me shortly about how we can ensure that part-time provision is better registered and better inspected in the future," Mr Gove said.
Discovery of the use of these text materials comes three years after a BBC investigation found a Saudi-funded school in west London was using texts that referred to Jewish people and Christians in derogatory terms. That prompted assurances at the highest diplomatic levels that the materials would be removed.
The BBC also discovered evidence of extremist viewpoints on several private, full-time Muslim school websites, including one message that read:
"Our children are exposed to a culture that is in opposition to almost everything Islam stands for" and "We need to defend our children from the forces of evil".
Panaroma also reports that Dr Usama Hasan, an Islamic scholar and part-time imam in East London, warned of the dangers of segregating young Muslims in the UK, particularly the seminaries where the next generation of imams are being educated.
"They don't interact with people who are not Muslim... they don't learn the ingredients of the western world, so it's very easy for them to read the medieval texts which were written at a time when Islam was under attack and say non-believers are our enemies and we have to fight them."