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Former minister says he received death threats

Published: Jun 17, 2010 00:09 Updated: Jun 17, 2010 00:09 

BURAIDAH: Former Education Minister Dr. Mohammad Al-Rasheed revealed to a local 
newspaper that he received death threats from extremists for changing the Saudi 
educational curriculum and limiting the time allotted for religious studies.

"I received a telephone call from an unknown person who told me that brothers 
were plotting to kill me if I went ahead with my plan to change the 
curriculum," Al-Rasheed told a local daily. "I suffered a lot at that time," he 

"After girls' education merged with the Ministry of Education, some people 
started a campaign to remove me from my post," said Al-Rasheed.

"Extremist websites were full of insulting articles and improper words against 
me in a way that contradicts every principle of Islam," he added. Friday 
sermons were also used in the campaign to remove him from his office.

"I tried every effort to reassure people that girls' education would not be 
changed and would remain according to our Islamic and traditional values, but 
all my efforts were in vain," he said.

Al-Rasheed still remembers a conference on education that was held in Beirut 
and organized by Arab Thought Forum. "Saudi women delegates participated in 
that conference representing themselves and not the Ministry of Education," he 
said, adding that he was depicted as a corrupt man for taking these Saudi women 
in a private plane abroad. "I had nothing to do with that trip. They were 
invited by the forum and I was a guest speaker at that conference," he said, 
adding that some of these women were university teachers, accompanied by their 
husbands and representing various institutions.

"I remember one day when I was performing Umrah, a teacher came to me, kissed 
my head and asked for forgiveness because he and his colleagues spoke evil of 
me. We as teachers thought you did not know the road to this holy place," he 

Al-Rasheed expressed his sorrow that some specialists in Islamic studies behave 
like this and that they judge others without evidence. "It is sad that they use 
the house of God to send these destructive messages," he said.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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