Saudi Arabia has taken significant steps to improve its school textbooks by removing a large portion of antisemitic content. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, an international watchdog organization that evaluates curricula based on UNESCO standards, conducted an analysis of 301 Saudi Arabian textbooks, including 80 textbooks for the current 2022-23 academic year.
IMPACT-se CEO, Marcus Sheff stated in the report, “Practically all the previously identified antisemitic material in Saudi Islamic Studies textbooks has now been removed.” He also suggested that there was a new trend in the curriculum content that wished to moderate the kingdom’s views on Israel.
Sheff emphasized the importance of textbook reform, particularly in Saudi Arabia, and commended the Saudi government for its consistent and methodical efforts to eliminate antisemitism. Entire chapters containing objectionable content were eliminated, and instances of previous antisemitism were notably absent from the revised textbooks.
The report stated that the Saudis have also gone to great lengths to remove references of violent Jihad from their schoolbooks as well.
Saudi textbooks have historically criticized anything that deviates from the Wahhabist theology that has great influence throughout the country. Individuals who do not follow the Islamic faith have in the past been subjected to discrimination.