GRIFFITH University’s attempts to justify accepting large donations from the Saudi Government by citing similar arrangements at Oxford and Harvard have been undermined by revelations British and American authorities have begun examining the growing influence of Muslim benefactors on tertiary institutions.
* The Griffith stooge at the helm, Ian O’Connor, naivelyÂ tries to defend and whitewash the establishment ofÂ theÂ IslamicÂ fifth column, here
Britain’s MI5 director-general, Jonathan Evans, reportedly told the Brown Government this month that the Saudi Government’s multi-million-dollar donations to universities, along with other funds from Muslim organisations in countries such as Pakistan, had led to a “dangerous increase in the spread ofextremism in leading university campuses”.
The warning came just days after the Higher Education Funding Council for England held a special meeting to confront fears Saudi donations were unduly influencing universities.
* That’s a fact.Â They do.Â
*Â Question: why does the Higher Education Funding Council for England need to hold a special meeting to confront fearsÂ that Saudi donations were unduly influencing universities?
And the US Congress is also examining Saudi donations to American colleges.
Security expert Anthony Bergin, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, yesterday warned Australian universities against diving for foreign handouts without properly considering the donor’s motives.
“I’d put a fair amount of weight on the statement of the head of the MI5 that they’re concerned about what degree of influence this sort of funding poses,” he told The Australian.
“And I think, frankly, it would be naive to think that the (Saudis) would not want something in return for their donation. It would be a bit odd if they gave the money and said, ‘Our first project is looking at human rights in downtown Riyadh’.”
Dr Bergin said local national security agencies were closely monitoring foreign funds being channelled into Australian universities: “Of course, they’re focused on these things.”
As reported in The Australian yesterday, Griffith vice-chancellor Ian O’Connor has defended a $100,000 Saudi embassy grant received by his university’s Islamic Research Unit, saying it was similar to donations received by Georgetown and Harvard in the US and Britain’s Oxford.
His defence followed revelations that Griffith pleaded for a $1.37million fund from the Saudi embassy – of which it received only $100,000 – and offered the ambassador a chance to “discuss ways” in which the money could be used.
Professor O’Connor faced further criticism yesterday from a trio of long-time ABC religion journalists and commentators – Rachael Kohn, John Cleary and Stephen Crittenden – who said he had confused the Christian doctrine of Unitarianism with the Islamic sects of Wahhabism and Salafism in an opinion article published in The Australian. Professor O’Connor wrote: “Unitarianism is also known by its critics as Salafism or Wahhabism, after an 18th-century Islamic scholar Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab.”
The ABC commentators responded by saying: “Ian O’Connor’s equation of Wahhabism and Salafism with Unitarianism is utter nonsense.
“Unitarianism emerged as a liberal Christian movement and gained ground in the early years of American democracy.”
And in an interview with The Australian this week, Queensland District Court judge Clive Wall likened Griffith to Pakistani “madrassas” – renowned for producing extremists – and accused the university of becoming an “agent” through which the Saudi Government would promote radical Islam.
* ‘Inviting’ judge Wall to Islam: Mohamed Abdalla
It is understood that Griffith has since invited Judge Wall to visit the university’s Islamic centre and meet its director, Mohamad Abdalla.
*Â Judge Wall – who was appointed to the District Court in 1996 – has accused Griffith of becoming a Saudi stooge.
* Yusuf rubs it:
*Â Advocate for sharia in Australia,Â Irfan Yusuf from the aptly named blog ‘Planet Irf’ engages in the usual mental acrobatics and smears the messenger, ‘Dickie Kerbaj’, because he doesn’t like his Arabic and anyhow, only Muslims can understand Islam, right Yusuf?