The Ministry of Education of Saudi Arabia has made a number of changes to its history textbooks, changing its view of the Ottoman Empire’s heritage and its former rule over parts of the Arabian Peninsula.
While the previous curriculum taught the topic of the Ottoman Empire (Ottoman caliphate) quite correctly, the new curriculum for elementary school students will now teach about “occupation”, crimes and the subsequent collapse.
Among the crimes that Saudi textbooks impute to Ottoman rule are “Fighting the first and second Saudi states; supporting some local leaders against King Abdulaziz; the destruction of Diria and the surrounding cities; as well as many parts of Zakhran and Asir, the torture of Imam Abdullah ibn Saud, the last imam of the first Saudi state, and his execution in Istanbul. ”
The curriculum also accuses the Ottoman government of dividing the Arabs of the peninsula, stating: “The Arab lands that came under the Ottoman administrative regime were divided into at least 15 provinces, and each province was governed by a governor. The regime also sought to impose a multitude of taxes on the population and crops, as well as land, goods and services, raising money to serve the Ottoman state and its sultans, without leaving significant revenues to these provinces. ” The Ottomans, as stated in the new program, were guided, first of all, by the “divide and rule” policy, strengthening “political domination and sowing discord, in order to prevent the unification of the Arabian Peninsula, transferring skilled craftsmen and builders from Egypt and the Levant to Istanbul,
Experts say that such official defamation of the Ottoman Empire by the Saudis signals a heightened sense of Saudi nationalism, as well as the strong anti-Turkish sentiment that has dominated the kingdom in recent years. Moreover, we note without any illusions that this is a merit of not just Muhammad bin Salman, on whom all cones are accustomed to throw. No, the Saudis are simply embraced by the same sense of nationality that prevails in other nation-states.
Well, a quarrel with another similar national state – Turkey – only contributes to this process.