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July 21, 2022 3:57 pm
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Qatari Textbooks Making ‘Slow’ Progress in Eliminating Antisemitism, Says Watchdog Report

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani speaks during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in Doha, Qatar, December 8, 2021. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Qatari textbooks are “slowly” making progress towards eliminating antisemitism and other problematic material, according to a new report by Israeli education watchdog IMPACT-se.

Released on Thursday, the review of Qatari textbooks from 2021-2022 found that officials in the Gulf state have removed antisemitic content describing Jews as treacherous, immoral, and responsible for Germany’s loss in World War I.

The group praised the removal of an entire 11th grade social studies textbook that said the Nazi Party ascended to power in Weimar Germany because Jews were “manipulating financial markets.” Another textbook was stripped of the false conspiracy theory that “the Jews” were responsible for a 1969 arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

On the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the report found that a “anti-Israel nationalist narrative” remains in Qatari educational materials, and that violence against Israel continues to be legitimized. Recent efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Arab states is opposed.

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Still, IMPACT-se found a “diminished tone of hostility” towards Israel, and a marked absence of open support for the Hamas terror group, of which the Qatari government is a key backer. Lessons about Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin have been purged, along with descriptions of “martyred” Palestinian terrorists and positive portrayals of rocket attacks on Israeli citizens.

Other problems linger, however, including negative portrayals of non-Muslims and polytheists, and the omission of the Holocaust from a 12th grade history book chapter on World War II. In a 6th grade Islamic Education lesson, students are taught that a “a woman’s fundamental purpose is to raise children to sacrifice their lives, in what is understood to be violent jihad,” the report explains.

“We are seeing a steady positive trend compared to our Qatar reports of the last two years, though the pace is slow,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said on Thursday. “The greatest degree of progress has been made in removing antisemitic content. However, much antisemitic material, of religious and nationalist nature, is retained.”

He continued, “Ideally the pace of change needs to be picked up, both in removing problematic materials and in the tougher job of creating peaceful and tolerant content, which the Qataris began to produce in 2021.”

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