The main author of the Saudi religious curriculum expressed his unequivocal support for the legalization of slavery in one of his lectures recorded on a cassette and obtained exclusively by SIA news.
Leading government cleric Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan is the author of the religious books currently used to teach 5 million Saudi students, both within the and in Saudi schools aboard including those in the Washington, D.C. metro area. "Slavery is a part of Islam," he says in the tape, adding: "Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam."
Government spokesman Adel Al-Jubeir and other officials have repeatedly claimed religious curriculums are being reformed, but Al-Fawzan's books continued to be used according to the minister of education's statements published by Al-Watan daily September 14th, 2003.
Al-Fawzan is member of the Senior Council of Clerics, Saudi Arabia's highest religious body, a member of the Council of Religious Edicts and Research, the Imam of Prince Mitaeb Mosque in Riyadh, and a professor at Imam Mohamed Bin Saud Islamic University, the main Wahhabi center of learning in the country.
Al-Fawzan refuted the mainstream Muslim interpretation that Islam worked to abolish slavery by introducing equality between the races. "They are ignorant, not scholars," he said of people who express such opinions. "They are merely writers. Whoever says such things is an infidel."
Al-Fawzan's most famous book, "Al-Tawheed; Monotheism", is taught to Saudi high school students. In it, he says that most Muslims are polytheists, and their blood and money are therefore free for the taking by "true Muslims."
Among Al-Fawzan's other controversial beliefs is the right to ban the marriage of Arab women to non- Arab Muslims, according to his book "Al-Mulkhas Al-Fiqhee" (Digest of Law). He has also issued a fatwa forbidden the watching of TV.
Al-Fawzan is also is a leading opponent of those who seek to introduce change to the Saudi school curriculum. He also claimed that elections and demonstrations are western imitations.
According to Saudi liberal writer and scholar Sheikh Hassan Al-Maliki, Al-Fawzan threatened him with beheading if he continued in his criticism of the extremist Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. Al-Maliki, who worked for the ministry of education, was fired after he wrote a 50- page paper criticizing Al-Fawzan's book "Al-Tawheed; Monotheism".