* Well, of course not. Not anymore: because now its out in the open…!
Thanks to Rosie
THE Griffith University academic at the heart of a funding controversy has defended the decision to accept $100,000 from the repressive Saudi Arabian Government to help finance Islamic studies.
Mohamad Abdalla told the HES the money for the Griffith Islamic research unit he leads had come with no strings attached, had been acquired openly and without secrecy and there was nothing wrong with it.
But he conceded the furore over a separate tranche of funding he sought – $1.37 million – had given him pause for thought.
* Islamic dualism at play:
Were the Saudis to approve the money, he would recommend the university not accept it.
“I would say no, don’t take the money,” Dr Abdalla said.
Dismissing as farcical the idea that accepting money from the Saudi Government could compromise the unit, he would not rule out accepting further funds from the same source at a later time, when the furore had died down.
“If they offer it I will consider it,” Dr Abdalla said.
* Cool. AtÂ the moment it may raise too many eyebrows, but when nobody’s looking its okay…
Debate rose over the funding when The Australian’s Richard Kerbaj revealed the Saudis had been offered some discretion in how the money would be spent and had also been offered anonymity over the donation.
When vice-chancellor Ian O’Connor defended the university’s pursuit of Saudi funding in an opinion article, he came under fire for using Wikipedia as a main source and for his confused interpretation of Islam.
* When in trouble, lie and deny:
Under fire for the propriety of his actions, Dr Abdalla was also forced to deny he was the Brisbane leader of the contentious Tablighi Jamaat movement, as had been reported. Although sympathetic to its ideals and acknowledging the group was represented at the Kuraby mosque, where he was a leader, he was not one of its leaders, he said.
Commentators who bought into the debate included Stephen Crittenden of the ABC’s The Religion Report, who wrote: “What the Saudi Government really wants is the legitimacy that comes from being associated with a Western university. There is not a shred of evidence that it has any interest in progressive reform.”
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s National Security Project director Carl Ungerer was also among those incredulous that any donation from Saudi Arabia would be considered acceptable.
*Â Â Â “Hearts & Minds in the Muslim World…”
“It is naive to think that Saudi Arabian funding is not going to be problematic given we know the Saudi Government and its agencies have funded Wahhabist educational institutions around the world,” Dr Ungerer said. “It’s one of the major problems we have in the ongoing ‘hearts and minds’ campaign in the Muslim world.”
Another Muslim academic, the University of Melbourne’s Sultan of Oman professor of Arab and Islamic studies Abdullah Saeed, is an associate of Dr Abdalla through their joint involvement in the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies and agreed funding was a sensitive area. “In the current climate one has to be very careful,” Professor Saeed, the centre’s lead director, said.
The Australian also reported last week that the Higher Education Funding Council for England was concerned about Saudi funding and the US Congress was examining Saudi donations to colleges.
MI5 had also reportedly warned Prime Minister Gordon Brown that funding from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries had caused a “dangerous increase in the spread of extremism in leading university campuses”.
At the same time The Guardian newspaper reported that HEFCE was considering a virtual centre of excellence networking academics, faith and community Islamic groups to boost Islamic studies.
* Useful idiots come out to ‘protect’ their favorite minority:
The controversy has also drawn out defenders of Dr Abdalla. The Queensland Forum for Christians, Jews and Muslims praised his “ability to build bridges between the Muslim community and people of other faiths” and said it was “greatly saddened to see Dr Abdalla’s integrity questioned”.
* What we needÂ is draw-bridges…
Uniting Church of Queensland moderator David Pitman said DrAbdalla was “an outstanding scholar and a person of great integrity” making a significant contribution to the life of the nation.
* You can smell a ‘revert’ in the making…
Islamic Council of Queensland president Suliman Sabdia, on behalf of 13 other signatories,wrote a letter to The Australian warning a repercussion of the reporting of the issue “could be increasing Islamophobia and a consequent decline in thousands of Muslim students coming to Australia, not only to study but also to experience our way of life”.
* Imagine that! Islamophobia?Â Nah, can’t have any of that, can we?
*Â But then we can’t have any Judeophobia, Christianophobia, Buddhistophobia,Â Hinduphobia either, and where would that leave the racist ummah?
Stop, for god’s sake stop, importing trouble — and Muslim immigrants, as a whole, necessarily mean trouble, in all lands where the political and legal institutions, and social arrangements, are flatly contradicted by the Shari’a. Muslims are obligated to change or tear down those institutions, in order to remove all “obstacles to Islam.” It is not special or individual malice that prompts that attitude. That is their duty, a central duty. Why not come to fully and soberly understand that duty, and out of a minimal sense of self-preservation, cease to import those into our lands (America, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and every other place that has so generously admitted, under a twisted definition of “refugees”), people who do not, and cannot, wish our ways or institutions or constitutions well.