Reza F. Safa, author of Inside Islam, estimates that since 1973, the Saudi government has spent an unbelievable $87B to promote Wahhabism in the United States, Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe. According to official Saudi information, Saudi funds have been used to build and maintain over 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges, 210 Islamic Centers wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia, and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia.
The Kingdom has fully or partially financed Islamic Centers in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Fresno; Chicago; New York; Washington; Tucson; Raleigh, N.C. and Toledo, Ohio as well as in Austria, Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Turkey, and even in some Muslim countries such as Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia and Djibuti.
Saudi aid to Muslims abroad, however, comes with strings attached, and most of the recipient institutions end up promoting the Wahhabi version of Islam.
A Textbook Case of Wahhabism
In a region where holy war is explained in public-school textbooks as “consider the infidel your enemy,” (advises a Saudi text for 10th-graders), the connection between political Islam of the sort advocated by Osama bin Laden and the education offered to Persian Gulf schoolchildren has been the subject of agonizing dispute.
In late 2002, The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) undertook a survey of Saudi Arabian (Wahhabi) textbooks. Unlike the Centerís former surveys of Palestinian and Syrian textbooks, however, the Saudi textbook survey included the Saudi Arabian (Wahhabi) outlook on Christianity and the West as well as Saudi notions of government, womenís status and childrenís rights as taught in schools.
The results of the survey provide some insight into the message the Saudis wish to instill in the minds of their students both in their Kingdom and throughout the world. The message, simply stated, is that Wahhabism either must dominate or be dominated. In terms of the democratization and modernization of the Arab world, Wahhabism stands as a monument to Arab stagnation and decline.
The Report analyzes 93 school textbooks taught in grades 1-10, mostly from the years 1999-2002 and presents a “unique” religious and political worldview to which school students between the ages 6 and 16 are exposed through their textbooks.
In these Wahhabi texts, Islam is presented as the only true religion while all other religions are presented as false. ìIslam is the only religion leading its followers to Paradise, whereas all other religions destroy their believers in Hell. The Muslims are, consequently, superior to followers of all other religions, in both this world and the next.
Christians and Jews in particular are denounced as infidels. Jews especially are presented as enemies of Islam and of Muslims. Muslims may not befriend them, nor emulate them in any way, lest that lead to love and friendship which is forbidden.