Thursday, April 24, 2008

CRIKEY: Ignorance of Kerbajian proportions exposed ...

Dicky Kerbaj makes it a hat-trick, today managing to extract his third article on Griffith University’s Islamic Research Unit (GIRU).

This time his article in The Australian cites various people from Griffith Uni (including its Vice Chancellor) who have defended the measley $100,000 donated by one of the wealthiest royal families on the planet.

The university authorities also refer to similar arrangements Saudi royalty have made with universities as controversial as Harvard, Oxford and Georgetown (a private Catholic university in Washington).

I’d love to see His Honour Judge Wall (again quoted today by Kerbaj) suggest the Catholic Church established educational institutions akin to extremist Pakistani madressas.

Kerbaj finally shows his own lack of expertise on what he describes as "the secretive Muslim group Tablighi Jamaat". In doing so, he shoots his own argument in the foot even more.

The TJ’s operations are extremely limited in the Saudi kingdom. TJ textbooks are banned from the country as they allegedly contain "deviant" Sufi teachings. Hard-line Saudi Wahhabi religious authorities have severely criticised TJ’s methodology and teachings.

Anyone with even a kindergarten understanding of Muslim sectarianism knows of the fatwa issued by the former Mufti of Saudi Arabia attacking the TJ and forbidding Wahhabis from spending time with them unless it is for the purpose of correcting them.

Kerbaj’s silly attack on GIRU head Dr Mohamad Abdalla reflects more on Kerbaj’s poor research skills than on Dr Abdalla.

To its credit, The Oz did run an opinion piece today by Griffith University Vice Chancellor Ian O’Connor. Professor O’Connor reveals that the university had received 10 times the amount of the Saudi donation from a Singaporean Buddhist elder. He also gave Crikey a plug. Grouse.

(First published in the Crikey daily alert for Thursday 24 April 2008.)

UPDATE I: Check out the unedited version of the Griffith Uni VC's article published by the marvellous folk at ABC Unleashed here.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf