Virginia County to Review Textbooks at Islamic Saudi Academy

October 29, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The International Herald Tribune

Wire Service: AP

School officials in a Virginia county neighboring Washington, D.C. are reviewing Arabic-language textbooks at a private Islamic school to see if it is espousing radical Islamic views following a federal panel's recommendation that the school be shut down.

School officials do not expect to find any problems with the textbooks at the Islamic Saudi Academy, but want to study the issue "to put the matter to rest," Fairfax County spokeswoman Merni Fitzgerald said Monday.

Earlier this month, a federal human rights panel recommended that the academy be shut down until a review was conducted. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in a report issued Oct. 17 that it had no direct evidence of a problem at the academy, but is concerned that the school closely mimics a typical Saudi education, which some critics say promotes intolerance against Christians, Jews and Shiite Muslims.

The academy, subsidized by the Saudi government, has nearly 1,000 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax. The Alexandria site is leased from Fairfax County.