Saudi hate literature
The government of Saudi Arabia is spreading "hate propaganda" in religious tracts sent to mosques throughout America, telling Muslims to hate Christians and Jews and to kill any Muslim who converts to another religion, a leading human rights group charged yesterday.
Saudi government literature collected during the past year from American mosques also tells Muslims living in the United States to "behave as if on a mission behind enemy lines," says an 89-page report released by the Human Rights Group Freedom House.
Abdulmohsen Alyas, a spokesman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, said he had not seen the Freedom House report.
When told of the report's contents, Mr. Alyas said, "Saudi Arabia recognizes that extremism is part of a worldwide problem that all nations must work on diligently to bring to an end.
"Saudi Arabia condemns extremism or hateful expression among people anywhere in the world."
The organization examined literature available in more than a dozen mosques and Islamic centers in Los Angeles, Dallas, Oakland, Calif., Houston, Chicago, New York and Washington, including the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in Fairfax.
It collected more than 200 books, brochures and other publications, about 90 percent written in Arabic with some publications in English and others in languages such as Urdu, the national language of Pakistan.
The texts promote the views of the extremist Wahhabi sect of Islam, the official religion of Saudi Arabia and the primary source of teachings espoused by Osama bin Laden and his followers.
Mrs. Shea said that the mosques themselves were not scrutinized in the report, only the actions of the Saudi government.
In most instances, the report said, involvement by the Saudi government was immediately evident from the seal or name of a government department emblazoned on the cover of the literature.
Materials examined were easily identifiable as originating from the Saudi Embassy in Washington, the Education Ministry, the Saudi air force and other branches of the Saudi government.
In addition to demonizing "nonbelievers," documents call Muslims who practice a moderate interpretation of Islam and embrace tolerance traitors deserving of punishment, even death.
One particularly chilling tract urges Muslims to kill any Muslims who convert to another religion.
It says of Muslims who accept Judaism or Christianity: "If you do not repent, you are an apostate and you should be killed because you have denied the Koran."