How to be a useful idiot: Saudi funding in Australia

Petrodollars have corrupted all Middle Eastern study departments in the U.S. Australia is not immune. The soldiers of allah are well established here. There is hardly a university without ‘prayer rooms’ and foot wash facilities. Preemptive dhimmitude is a package deal.

The Griffith fiasco

In 2007 it was revealed that the Saudis were planning a $2.7 billion scholarship fund for Australian universities, designed to facilitate the entry of Saudi students into Australia to undertake tertiary education in the face of restrictions on their entry into the US and UK in the post-9/11 security environment.

It later emerged in The Australian that Griffith University “practically begged the Saudi Arabian embassy to bankroll its Islamic campus for $1.3 million”, assuring the Saudis that arrangements could be kept secret if required. The vice-chancellor promoted Griffith as the “university of choice” for Saudis and “offered the embassy an opportunity to reshape the Griffith Islamic Research Unit (GIRU) during its campaign to get ‘extra noughts’ added to the Saudi cheques”.

The issue ignited fears that the university would allow itself to become a centre for the promulgation of Wahhabism, the sectarian form of Islam that is both the Saudi state religion, and a chief theological component of Islamism, the totalitarian ideology guiding global jihadism and terrorism.

Moderate Australian Muslims expressed an anxiety that the Saudis were using their financial power to remake Australia’s Islamic community. They also claimed that the director of GIRU was the leader of a shadowy network allegedly promoting Islamism and channeling members into extremist organizations.

These fears appeared confirmed in March 2008, when Griffith hosted the controversial Islamist ideologue Tariq Ramadan, as keynote speaker at a conference pointedly called ‘The Challenges and Opportunities of Islam in the West: The Case of Australia’. The event was organized by GIRU, whose director chaired the opening ceremony, while the Saudi ambassador made the welcoming remarks.

When the vice-chancellor published an article defending Griffith’s aggressive pursuit of Saudi funding he revealed an ignorance of Islam and there were allegations of plagiarism from a Wikipedia entry. It also emerged that his principal policy adviser had told an ABC journalist that Australia’s universities were not secular institutions, and that “because we seemed to have no objection to the ‘Christianization’ of our universities, we could hardly object to attempts to ‘Islamify’ them or any other aspects of Australian life”.

Although Griffith University hosts the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies this fiasco indicates that its administration is ignorant of the most basic facts of Islam and regards the ‘Islamification’ of Australia as inconsequential.

Saudi Arabia & financial jihad

The massive, ideologically-loaded largesse of the Saudi regime reflects a major shift in policy within Saudi Arabia that followed the siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi National Guard. These militants denounced the Saudi monarchy as apostates from Islam and proclaimed the imminent apocalyptic return the Mahdi (redeemer of Islam). At the same time, the Iranian Revolution saw the emergence of Iran as a powerful Shi’ite theocracy overshadowing the Sunni-dominated Gulf States.

In response, the regime embraced the religious establishment, entrenched Wahhabism as the Saudi state religion, and began a billion-dollar spending program to export Wahhabism on a global scale.

The scale of this commitment was made clear in March 2002, when the Saudi government’s English weekly Ain Al-Yaqeen published an article on the “Billions Spent by Saudi Royal Family to Spread Islam to Every Corner of the Earth”. It described the 210 Islamic centres, 1500 mosques, 200 colleges and 2000 schools wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia.

Overall, the Saudis have spent approximately $95 billion since the mid-1970s to export Wahhabism on a global scale, and there is no evidence of decreased activity in its missionary effort.

The Project

This vast missionary program operates under the influence of the leading Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 by the Egyptian, Hassan al-Banna, who saw the need to establish a sophisticated financial system to support global jihadism. This vision was developed and nurtured by subsequent Islamist ideologues, including a life-long activist, Said Ramadan, whose son, Tariq, was the keynote speaker at the March 2008 Griffith conference.

The strategy guiding this effort is described in a secret document, “Towards a World Strategy for Political Islam” (a.k.a. The Project), prepared in 1982 and discovered during a police raid of the Bank Al Taqwa in Switzerland in November 2001.

The Project outlines a covert strategy for the gradual and secret promotion of Islamism on a global scale, involving a complex process of organizational development, involving mosques, community groups, schools, hospitals, charities, advocacy groups, academic centres, Islamist think-tanks, and publishing companies.

This is to be accompanied by extensive political activity, alliances, infiltration, and network building with ‘progressive’ Western organizations and media that share attitudes and objectives with Islamism (e.g., anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, etc), always promoting a public profile of moderation, coupled with a relentless insistence on Muslim ‘victimhood’.

Such organizations are to be realigned ideologically in accordance with the principles of Islamism and jihadism, using whatever tactics of proselytizing, re-education, subversion, manipulation, deception and dissimilation are required.

Agents of influence & useful idiots

Particular use is to be made of agents of influence and useful idiots strategically located in key educational, political, and media positions. The term ‘useful idiot’ is attributed to V. I. Lenin who used it contemptuously to describe those Western politicians, intellectuals, and public figures who supported the Soviet Union while denying or discounting the atrocities associated with the regime. It is now applied to the progressivist defenders of Islamism.

The question arises of why Islamism is defended by progressivists and the left, as its anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-modern, anti-intellectual, genocidal, misogynistic, homophobic, barbaric, violence-laden, theocratic, and apocalyptic nature is clear to anyone who studies the masses of Islamist material that have been produced over the past three decades and are increasingly freely available on the Web.

A useful explanation for the complicity of progressive and leftist forces with Islamism has been provided by Daniel Pipes, a leading analyst of global Islamism. Pipes identifies four main reasons for this ‘unholy alliance’: (1) The left and Islamists believe they share the same enemies: Western civilization, especially the US and Israel; and international capitalism, which is identified with Jews and Zionism. (2) The two groups share important political goals, e.g., an American defeat in the War on Terror, Afghanistan, and Iraq; and the destruction of Israel. (3) Islamism has strong historic and philosophic ties to Marxism-Leninism, especially in their shared expectation of the imminent collapse of the capitalist West. (4) Leftists and Islamists recognize that they have more power and influence operating together in an alliance, mutually supporting each other’s ideology and political goals.

While these reasons are valid there are other, more venal ways (e.g., involving blackmail, vanity, ambition, sexual favours) to attract useful idiots and agents of influence prepared to promote totalitarianism, as the success of the KGB showed during the Cold War.


Given the vast sums of petrodollars and the availability of useful idiots and agents of influence in strategic positions, it is unlikely that Australian universities will resist the allure of Saudi funding, nor will they resist pressure to guide their teaching and research in an Islamist direction, especially in connection with the war on terror, the history of Islam, the Middle East conflict, Islam and the West, and the role of women. Consequently, it will only be continuing public and academic vigilance and political pressure that will protect Australia’s tertiary education system, moderate Muslim communities and liberal democratic traditions.