Friday, May 02, 2008

STOP PRESS!!: Saudi Wahhabi money at News Corp ...

Today, I received a letter from a Canberra reader who read yesterday's article published in The Canberra Times (click here to read). It turns out that Griffith Uni isn't the only institution to take money from the Saudis ...

I loved Irfan Yusuf's expose of The Australian newspaper's beat up about Griffith University receiving $100,000 from Saudi Arabia ("Attempts to whip up hysteria over Islamic issues'', May 1, p19.). If $100,000 is enough to buy influence, as the Australian alleges, then what would a 6 per cent Saudi stake in News Corp buy?

I wrote the following letter to the editor of The Australian recently. Strangely it has not yet been published.

So let me share with you my letter through a more democratic newspaper, one that is committed to diversity and free speech.

"Isn't it shocking that a poor University would receive a pittance in funding from Saudi Arabia?

"Thank God News Corp would never accept Wahabbist money.

"So tell me again about Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and his Kingdom Holding Company? Did he at any stage hold 6 to 7 percent in News Corp? Does he still?

"How many billions of wahabbist money is invested in News Corp?"

John P.

The correspondent has a point. Here's how BBC reported the transaction. And check out this report in Here is what Prince Waleed bin Talal said about his 5.46% share in News Limited:

Last November I said that I had the utmost confidence in Mr. Murdoch, his management team and his succession planning, and that if necessary, the Kingdom companies would replace their non-voting shares with voting shares ... The Kingdom companies now own a significant interest in News Corporation voting shares and may purchase more if the situation warrants.

And here's what Rupert Murdoch said about the followers of the Prince's religion who choose to live in Western countries ...

You have to be careful about Muslims who have a very strong, in many ways a fine, but very strong religion which supersedes any sense of nationalism wherever they go.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf