Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Real Place for Saudis to Engage in Interfaith Dialogue

The following is a multiple-choice question that appears in a recent edition of Monotheism and Jurisprudence, a Saudi fourth-grade textbook, in a section where students are taught to distinguish "true" from "false" belief in God:

Q. Is belief true in the following instances:
a) A man prays but hates those who are virtuous.
b) A man professes that there is no deity other than God but loves the unbelievers.
c) A man worships God alone, loves the believers, and hates the unbelievers.

So what is the correct answer?

Not b). According to these officially approved (and distributed to other Saudi-sponsored schools around the world) textbooks, a man who worships God cannot be said to have "true belief" if he loves unbelievers.

Nope, according to the Wahhabi imams who wrote this textbook, the answer is, of course, c). And it isn't enough just to worship God or to love other believers, you must also hate unbelievers as well.

And in case you were wondering, "unbelievers," in the context of this textbook, are Christians and Jews. By the ninth grade, they will also be taught that we are their enemies and that they must fight against us.

And this is the country that sponsored an interfaith dialogue last week in Spain. A good place to start this dialogue would be in their own schools, don't you think?

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