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Saudi textbooks cause anger
Rasid - UPI - 30 / 12 / 2011 - 6:20 pm

Textbooks teaching Saudi Arabian students that hands and feet should be cut off for crimes are creating anger in the international community, experts say.

The Institute for Gulf Affairs, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., said the textbooks are creating controversy in policy-making circles over the use of "archaic and eye-for-an-eye policies," Bikyamasr.com reported Thursday.

Alu al-Ahmen, director of the IGA, said "terrorism starts" in the education system.

"If you teach 6 million children such knowledge in these important learning years of their lives, if you install all those in their brain, it is of no wonder we have so many Saudi suicide bombers," he said in a statement published by the group.

However, some say the textbooks, which "show students how to cut [the] hand and the feet of a thief," al-Ahmen said, are not that dangerous.

A former CIA agent living in Dubai said the textbooks are worrisome, "but they do not amount to much. We have always seen the difficulty in getting it right in textbooks, in the United States as well as here in the region."

He cited Israeli text books that "have basically wiped out the idea that Palestinians were a majority of the area before Israel was created."

"Yes, I do worry about the concept of teaching children that cutting off hands and feet are OK, but it is Saudi Arabia and they are known for their outside the norm thinking," he said.

Hassan AbdelKarim, a teacher in Saudi Arabia, told Bikyamasr.com that he generally glosses over such passages when teaching.

"While we are supposed to use the textbooks throughout our teaching process, sometimes many of us just skip over it or create a discussion in class, so the fear-mongering over the books is a bit much. Worries sure, but creating this idea that the education system is creating future terrorists is wrong," he said.

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