Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Crossroads Arabia » Saudis to Clean Up Libraries

Crossroads Arabia » Saudis to Clean Up Libraries: "Terror Literature to Be Weeded out of Libraries

Riyadh, 2 May (AKI) - The authorities in Saudi Arabia have begun a campaign to weed out terrorist literature from public libraries in the kingdom, local daily al-Watan reports. The daily said that in the conservative city of Buraida, north of the capital, several libraries were offering copies of a reference book on how to make bombs used by Jihadi combattants. The text also reportedly described bomb making techniques, intended to kill the infidels.

The newspaper said that this book and others that the newspaper had managed to borrow from the library have since been removed.

This piece from the Italian news agency AKI, citing the Arabic language daily Al-Watan, is encouraging. It's certainly a good thing that terror-related books are being removed from Saudi libraries. It's a good place to start.

The Saudis also need to go a step further: they need to remove books, articles, and tapes that preach intolerance not only from their own libraries, but the libraries and reading rooms around the world to which they've been sent.

This poses a problem for the Saudi government. Much of the intolerant and unacceptable materials was issued, over the past 30 years, by the late Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baz, who was Grand Mufti. Repudiating works by a man whose piety was widely acknowledged around the world is difficult, to say the least. But much of what Bin Baz believed and wrote about–he truly believed the world was flat, for instance–is sorely out of date. He was not noted for tolerance toward any aspect of Islam that did not accord with his own, personal view.

Saudi embassies now need to find a way to start removing books that had been distributed to mosques, Islamic centers and schools that no longer reflect Saudi views of the world. The directive to do so needs to come from the top as bureaucrats–even ambassadors–are not likely to take the step themselves: CYA is a universal bureaucratic response."

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