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The New Arab

New Saudi curriculum attacks 'criminal' Ottoman Empire

The new curriculum has sparked debate on social media [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 August, 2019

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A new Saudi curriculum for teenage secondary school students is referring to the Ottoman Empire as a 'criminal' and 'divisive' regime.

Saudi Arabia's ministry of education has changed parts of its history curriculum to teach students that the Ottoman Empire was an “invasive and criminal state”.

Images across social media have circulated of the curriculum slating the Ottoman Empire, which is taught to students in the second year of secondary school.

The curriculum aims to teach teenagers the darker side of the Ottoman Empire, as Saudi Arabia propagates a stronger nationalist identity, revolving around unwavering support for the country’s monarchy.

The Saudi education ministry released a statement defending the change in curriculum, implying supporting the Ottoman Empire unpatriotic.

“Some of the crimes and positions of the Ottoman Empire in the Arabian Peninsula found a place in the curriculum and these include the following: “Fighting with the first and second Saudi states; supporting some local leaders against King Abdul Aziz; destroying Diriyah and surrounding towns; as well as many parts of Zahran and Asir, besides torturing Imam Abdullah Bin Saud, the last imam of the first Saudi state, and assassinating him after taking him to Istanbul”, the statement said.

The statement also referred to the Ottoman Empire as a regime that divided and conquered Arab land and accused the empire of “political domination and sowing discord in order to prevent the Arabian Peninsula from being united”.

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