The move on President Obama’s part could arguably be rationalized as an act of self-preservation, or at least good will. He is preparing for a trip to Saudi Arabia. It is understandable that he might want to delay the release of a damning government study on Saudi Arabia’s education system and its emphasis on intolerance for other cultures and non-Islamic religions.
But the report was completed before the end of 2012. Why wasn’t it released long ago?
Eli Lake, writing at the Daily Beast, notes that the State Department underwrote the study of Saudi textbooks and other classroom materials, which was conducted by a Washington nonprofit called the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy.
According to current and former U.S. officials, the still-unreleased study “presents a mixed picture. While it praises the Saudis for making some reforms and removing the most offensive language from textbooks, it still found there was room for improvement.”
State Department officials say the study of Saudi textbooks was never meant to be released to the public. The president of the non-profit that wrote the study told the Daily Beast the same.
But others disagree. Michael Posner, who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for Obama’s first term said the State Department always had the choice to publish the textbook study.
“We commissioned the study to assess and evaluate the content of the textbooks with the intention of sharing our findings with the Saudi government and with the option, depending on the findings, of making it public if the problems persisted,” Posner told the Daily Beast.
Posner declined to discuss the contents of the unpublished Saudi textbook study in the interview. But he spoke about the problem of Saudi textbooks in more general terms. “Among the references that were most offensive were commentary that linked Christians and Jews to apes and pigs,” Posner said.
The answer to the question of why the most open and transparent administration in history won’t release the study seems to boil down to the same old double standard. The research in all likelihood confirms an abiding hatred for non-Muslims and the West in general, which conflicts with Obama’s worldview of who are the haters and who are the hated.
In the meantime, Christians and Jews are apes and pigs? who would have guessed that the Saudis use the Common Core Curriculum Standards?
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