Saudi Arabia’s textbooks for the current academic year promote violence against those who engage in gay sex, as well as women, Jews, Christians and Shia Muslims, according to a new report by the monitoring group Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The ADL review examined the kingdom’s textbooks and found numerous references to God-sanctioned violence against Muslim minorities, Christians and Jews as well as women and those who engage in sodomy, or anal sex.



Gay sex is illegal in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death, as the textbooks remind students.

“The Saudi educational curriculum teaches that anal sex, which it refers to as ‘sodomy,’ corrupts the human soul and generally should be punished with the death penalty,” the ADL review reads.

Teenage girls pictured in Saudi Arabia, where textbooks still promote violence against women, those engaging in gay sex, and religious minorities.
Teenaged girls pose behind a pretend car while they old up certificates for completing an outdoor educational driving event for women on June 22, 2018 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Sean Gallup/Getty)

It adds: “As with adultery, the curriculum also teaches that anal sex brings shame to an individual’s family and entire tribe, a belief that is central to the occurrence of so-called ‘honor killing’ against LGBTQ people.”

Gay sex blamed for God’s wrath causing disasters and epidemic

Among the passages condemning sodomy found in the textbooks, one blames gay sex for natural disasters.

“If sodomy appears in society then God descends swiftly upon its people with punishment, disasters and ailments afflict it, and epidemics and diseases spread, and injustice prevails, and corruption reigns in the land,” one of the passages quoted in the ADL review reads.

The review of Saudi textbooks comes more than a decade since the kingdom committed to revise its textbooks to eliminate all incitement to violence against religious groups by 2008.

In September, Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir claimed incitement to violence was no longer part of the textbooks as the curriculum had been “revamped” numerous times.

“The United States must hold its ally Saudi Arabia to a higher standard. The US cannot look the other way while Saudi Arabia features anti-Semitic hate speech year after year in the educational material it gives to its children,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pictured at a conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where gay sex is still punishable by death penalty.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 23, 2018. – (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty)

The US and Saudi Arabia are allies, but the relationship was strained by the kingdom’s assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.

The kingdom first denied killing the writer, a US resident and Washington Post columnist, but after changing its version of events multiple times, Saudi authorities eventually admitted to his murder—but keep denying Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman’s involvement in the assassination.

Trump renewed the US support for the relationship with Saudi Arabia in a statement on Tuesday (November 20) which explained that the country would have billions of dollars of trade agreements to lose by cutting relations with the kingdom.

Trump also cited a risk to oil prices when reported further questioned his stance on Saudi Arabia.




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