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As the Senate prepares an investigation, the U.S. State Department is demanding Saudi Arabia account for its distribution of hate-filled, jihad propaganda through American mosques.
The developments are based on a yearlong study by a Washington human-rights group asserting the government of Saudi Arabia is disseminating propaganda through American mosques that teaches hatred of Jews and Christians and instructs Muslims that they are on a mission behind enemy lines in a land of unbelievers.
The 89-page report by Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom, “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques,” concludes the Saudi government propaganda examined reflects a “totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence.”
The report says the fact it is “being mainstreamed within our borders through the efforts of a foreign government, namely Saudi Arabia, demands our urgent attention.”
In response to the report and the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2005, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings Oct. 25, the New York Sun reported.
The Accountability Act, introduced in June by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., sharply criticizes the Saudi regime for its support of terrorist activity and, citing the Freedom House report, its part in spreading the radical Wahhabist ideology shared by Osama bin Laden and the 9-11 attackers.
The act’s purpose is “to halt Saudi support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism, and to secure fully Saudi cooperation in the investigation of terrorist incidents.”
Specter has held Judiciary Committee hearings into Saudi financing of terrorism and Riyadh’s role in injecting ideology into textbooks for Palestinian Arab schoolchildren, the Sun said.
The hearings this month likely will include testimony from the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Freedom House and terrorism experts, said William Reynolds, a spokesman for Specter.
The State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, Karen Hughes, also is demanding answers from the Saudis, the New York paper reported.
In a visit to Saudi Arabia last week, Hughes raised the issue in private meetings with government officials. She also referred to it publicly in a meeting with Saudi journalists.
“We had been raising the issue privately,” Hughes explained, “and as part of raising difficult issues that we need to discuss, I felt it was appropriate.”
Reynolds said the degree to which Saudi Arabia is making efforts to stop the propaganda will be a subject of the Senate hearings.
In March, 15 senators responded to the Freedom House report with a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding the Bush administration take stronger action against Riyadh.
Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, were among the signers of the letter, which called for the U.S. to define its relationship Saudi Arabia more clearly.
Schumer stated: “It is a massive contradiction that a country we call an ally could be both so regressive in their own country and so brazen in its propagation of anti-American, anti-women, anti-Semitic books, publications, and practices. American security is undermined as the Saudi government exports these hateful commodities to millions beyond its borders, planting the seeds for new generations of terrorists and totalitarian Wahhabi leaders.”
Collins said the report “raises some disturbing concerns about the spread of extremist materials in American mosques and Islamic centers.”
“If we are going to win the war on terrorism, these types of actions cannot be tolerated,” she said. “It is important that the Saudi Arabian government join us in this fight and stop supporting the spread of ideologies that promote hatred and intolerance around the world.”
The Freedom House report cited samples of more than 200 books and other publications from American mosques used to educate its members that preach a “Nazi-like hatred for Jews” and “promote contempt for the United States because it is ruled by legislated civil law rather than by totalitarian Wahhabi-style Islamic law.”
One highlighted document, distributed through the Saudi Arabian Embassy’s Cultural Department in Washington, is a fatwa against the taking of American citizenship by Muslims and thereby “acquiescing to their infidelity and accepting all their erroneous ways.”