May 21, 2006

"True belief means . . . that you hate the polytheists and infidels but do not treat them unjustly."

A lesson from a textbook for Saudi 5th graders. For 8th graders: ""As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the people of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of the communion of Jesus." Meanwhile, the Saudi government has gone about bragging that it has "eliminated what might be perceived as intolerance from old textbooks."

15 comments:

Troy said...

So does that make Jews for Jesus Monkey Swine? Talk about mixed metaphors.

Bruce Hayden said...

What is interesting is that Islam would not be the religion it is if not for both Judaism and Christianity. Who are Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, all who show up in the Quoran, if you don't know these other religions?

To some extent, it is somewhat similar to the Book of Mormon. You can't truly understand the Book of Mormon without the Christian Bible, and you can't truly understand the Quran without the Jewish Scriptures.

Bruce Hayden said...

I can understand the Wahhabis considering many Christians polythists over the Trinity, as they do the Shiites, for their reverence for shrines, etc., but calling the Jews and Christians "infidels"?

They admit that they believe in precisely the same God, the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. This doesn't make logical sense to me. (But then, a religion rarely makes sense to those who are not its adherants).

Ok, I will admit to multiple definitions of the word "infidel". One is someone who doesn't believe in your faith. But another is someone who doesn't believe in your God. The former is probably more accurate, since the root of the word is apparently the Latin "infidelis", meaning not faithful (fidelis).

Of course, we are working off of English translations of Arabic in the first place, so much of this is moot.

Balfegor said...

Re:Bruce Hayden
Ok, I will admit to multiple definitions of the word "infidel". One is someone who doesn't believe in your faith. But another is someone who doesn't believe in your God. The former is probably more accurate, since the root of the word is apparently the Latin "infidelis", meaning not faithful (fidelis).


Isn't there, in English, a meaningful distinction between Heretic, Infidal, and Heathen? In my understanding:

A heretic is someone of your own religion (e.g. Christianity) who rejects certain tenets or has unacceptably deviant theological convictions.

An infidel is someone of your religious tradition who rejects the truth of your particular relgion. E.g. you may worship the same God, but your religions are different, in that, e.g. Jesus is or is not the son of God, Muhammad is or is not the final Prophet, etc. Traditionally Jews and Muslims were infidels for the Christians, and probably Christians and Jews are the infidels for the Muslims here. Probably it would also include atheists born into your religious tradition who subsequently turned their backs on the true faith.

And then a heathen would be like a polytheist, a devotee of Hinduism, say.

Have I got that wrong? The online dictionaries suggest that infidel and heathen are synonyms, but I thought there was a distinction in usage.

Ann Althouse said...

If you see your comment disappear, know that I have a reason. You can read back over what I've left and figure out for yourself what lesson I am trying to teach. Please do this on your own, without adding to the comments. And expect more of the same.

David said...

"...do not treat them unjustly."

This is a perfect definition of dhimmitude.

The case of Ahmed Mansour. The Islamic Society of Boston is suing him for speaking truth to crimes against humanity put forth by Wahhabist radicalism (Saudi Arabia.)

Having gone to pray at the ISB's mosque in 2004 at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he was later moved to state that "I am here to testify that this radical culture is here, inside this society... They are preaching hatred against the U.S. through books and videos inside the mosque's library."

The real problem, as I see it, is the failure of our society to distinguish between free speech and treason. Teaching their faithful to hate the country they live in and overthrow the government to establish shari-a law is traitorous and treasonous.

They are hiding behind first ammendment protection and the people of Boston are helping them. The ISB listed Yusef al-Qardawi, a radical Islamist who supports suicide and killing Americans in support of Islam, as a trustee. Of course, when this was pointed out to the ISB, they blew it off as an 'administrative error' and removed it. Google Walid Fitaihi for another example.

These people are taking a serious run at our way of life. Take them seriously because they are teaching hate to a generation of youngsters that are living in our midst.

JohnF said...

I'd like to know what these textbooks said before they were "improved." Does anyone know?

And I did think it was a nice touch that, while we should be hated, we are not to be treated unjustly. (Until fairly recently, U.S. law was indifferent to what people thought of each other, so long as they treated each other properly. Now, of course, if you treat some one badly while hating them it is worse than just treating them badly.)

But I digress. Does anyone know what these texts said before?

Jacques Cuze said...

Wahabism bad.

Make Shiitism and Sunnism seem like Catholicism.

Ann Althouse said...

John said..."Until fairly recently, U.S. law was indifferent to what people thought of each other, so long as they treated each other properly."

There's a world of difference between a government that leaves you to your own hateful thoughts and a government that teaches children to hate!

JohnF said...

Ann said, "There's a world of difference between a government that leaves you to your own hateful thoughts and a government that teaches children to hate!"

I agree that there's a world of difference between anyone leaving you to your [bad] thoughts and encouraging them instead. (Does it matter that much that it is the government as opposed to a prophet?)

But here the interesting wrinkle is that the government not only is encouraging the bad thoughts, but appears to be saying not to act on them. That is an unusual prescription--and very uncharacteristic of the "typical" fanaticism we see popping up all over the world of Islam.

So I was wondering what these texts said before. Maybe the new texts are actually an improvement in some sense.

PatCA said...

"So I was wondering what these texts said before."

I think they were pretty much the same. The call to reform the textbooks was adamantly opposed by the Islamic scholarly class in the ME.

(BTW I don't see any comments deleted...)

Ann Althouse said...

Pat: If you delete twice all signs of the post disappear.

Tibore said...

Sad and unfortunate. This seems to be evidence that the Saudi government is only half-heartedly implementing reforms.

As a partially related issue: This brings to mind the dress code laws making the news in Iran. No, not the one where non-Muslims wear certain colors; that one's not verified, so I'm not ready to say it's true at this time, not without confirmation. I'm talking about the one reaffirming the "Islamic Dress", the one that exhorts citizens to wear clothing consistent with "Islamic values". Believe it or not, things actually read moderate on the surface: There's no mention of enforcement, the language is aimed at "encouragement" (through economic incentives to manufacturers, tarrifs on imports, etc.) rather than prevention; one lawmaker was quoted as saying "This bill brings no obligation, no imposition" (source), etc. The government is passing this off as being "moderate", but the mere fact that this is government mandating -- however positively phrased -- what an individual should wear is an Orwellian irony escaping the grasp of government spokespeople making said claims.

What does that have to do with the Saudi story? Well, both governnments are making claims of moderation in their actions. The Saudi government's saying they're reforming their school curriculums to remove "...materials that are inciteful or intolerant towards people of other faiths". The Iranian governments make claims that their actions are truly moderate since they only supply carrot, not stick. It's oddly both a worrisome and hopeful development: Worrisome because it's a sign that those governments are trying to pass off either ineffectual (Saudi Arabia) or potentially repressive activities (Iran) as moving towards greater tolerance and moderation. Hopeful because they at least feel the necessity to move in that direction, even if their actual efforts fall short.

jane said...

I first read about this report in October 2004 at Frontpage. If I am remembering correctly there was an attempt made to present the report to the U.N. where the presentation was not well accepted. If you look up The Center for Monitoring Peace there is a great deal of information on textbooks and the report. The latest "news", true or not, about the wearing of colors reminded me of the book The Dhimmi by Bat Ye'or. (An extremely well done and interesting book by the way.)

PatCA said...

It all makes me believe that history is repeating itself. I feel like I'm in Act 1 of any World War II movie, where all the civilized people stand around looking at Hitler and saying it can't happen, it won't happen, we're too smart for this to happen...