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House Calls on Saudi Arabia to Reform Education System

Location: Washington, DC

House Calls on Saudi Arabia to Reform Education System

Davis/King resolution helps address root causes of terrorism

WASHINGTON, DC - Early this morning, by a vote of 351 to 1, the House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res. 275, which calls on Saudi Arabia to reform its education system, abolishing curriculum that promotes religious extremism and intolerance. The resolution, introduced by Rep. Jim Davis (D-FL) and Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY), takes a critical step toward addressing the root cause of international terrorism.

For decades, the Saudi government has permitted followers of a rigid interpretation of Islam to control the country's education system, using lesson plans that encourage intolerance and anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western views. As a result, some Saudi students have become prime recruiting targets for militant extremist groups. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers who carried out the September 11th attacks were Saudi Arabian nationals and many Saudi nationals have entered Iraq to join the insurgency.

"Today, the House of Representatives has said that the Administration should no longer turn a blind eye to Saudi Arabia's failure to silence the extremist forces that have permeated the country's education system," said Congressman Jim Davis. "The resolution passed today helps our country develop a strong offense in the war on terror by addressing the conditions that are breeding the next generation of terrorists."

"It is essential that Saudi Arabia promotes an educational system that reflects the peaceful beliefs of the Muslim faith," Congressman King said. "This is a crucial component in our war against international Islamic terrorism.

H.Con.Res. 275 expresses disappointment with the slow pace of education reform in Saudi Arabia and encourages the Saudi government to make changes to promote tolerance and a peaceful coexistence with others. The resolution calls for education reform to prepare young people to succeed in a 21st century global economy.

H.Con.Res. 275 calls on the Secretary to monitor the Saudi education system and report to Congress on progress in reforming the system. Finally, the resolution encourages the President to take into account progress toward this goal when determining US-Saudi Arabia relations.

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