There is a very interesting article on Slate.com called, A Textbook Case of Intolerance. According to the writer, Anne Applebaum, text books and standardized tests in Saudi Arabia say that:
"Jews conspire to gain sole control of the world," that the Christian crusades never ended, and that on Judgment Day "the rocks or the trees" will call out to Muslims to kill Jews."
I haven't seen the text books and tests myself and hope that the study the reporter was writing about isn't correct. That said, like Ms. Applebaum, the Museum believes that what you learn as a young student will have an impact on who you become as an adult.
One of my favorite educational initiatives here at the Museum is called The Interfaith Living Museum. In a nutshell, it brings together Jewish school students with Islamic school students for a three month program during which they visit each others' schools, go to a mosque and a synagogue together, and get to know about each other's culture and heritage. The culmination of the project is a museum exhibition that the kids put together in which they display family artifacts related to their heritage. It is a wonderful and uplifting event (I was teary all night) that really does create a space for dialogue.
My colleague, Paul Radensky, who was instrumental in developing the program said it best: “The two faiths have a lot in common. We want to build mutual understanding and mutual respect between Muslims and Jews. It makes sense to start young.”
Forgive the long post, but I really can't say enough great things about this program. But don't take my word for it, read more about the students at the Islamic Leadership School and the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan who took part in the program in a Jewish Week article written by the very astute Doug Chandler. Or click here for more information about educational opportunities at the Museum.