The official Saudi ideology — known as Wahhabism — in which Saudi students are steeped from a young age, demonizes the West and the religious “other.” Saudi teens have, for years, been instructed by state school textbooks that claim that “fighting unbelief…and those who perpetrate it” is “one of the noblest acts, which brings one closer to God, and one of the most magnificent acts of obedience to God.” The word for “fighting” here is “qital,” derived from “qatala” or “to kill,” and which has virtually no metaphorical meaning in Arabic. Enmity between Saudi Wahhabiists and others is exalted as a sacred duty from first grade through twelfth.
Predictably, this kind of indoctrination results in droves of young Saudi men ready and willing to enlist for suicide missions against infidels and heretics throughout the world. Surely the Saudi media commentators know about the state-sponsored indoctrination, and have views on how to revise the educational system. But an open, sustained, and in depth debate on these issues is yet to be permitted inside Saudi Arabia. Simply raising critical questions is pressing the envelope. By venturing for answers that would fault the Kingdom’s Wahhabi education, one would risk arrest for blasphemy or related charges.
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