Melbourne, Apr.23 : A judge of the Queensland District Court has described the state's Griffith University as being similar to a hard-line Islamic "madrassa" in Pakistan.
Accusing the Queensland institution of promoting a Muslim ideology espoused by Osama bin Laden, District Court judge Clive Wall said Griffith was an "agent" through which the Saudi Arabian embassy was propagating extreme Islam.
Judge Wall, a deputy judge advocate-general in the Australian Defence Force holding the rank of air commodore, told The Australian it was clear what brand of Islam the university would be teaching through its Saudi-funded Islamic Research Unit.
"I'm concerned that a country (Saudi Arabia) which doesn't itself tolerate freedom of religion is promoting its own quite bigoted version here with the acquiescence of our learning institutions. It would have to be Wahabism, similar to many of the madrassas in Pakistan who receive funding from Saudi Arabia," he said.
The Australian revealed yesterday that Griffith asked the Saudi embassy in Australia for a 1.37 million dollar grant for its Islamic Research Unit, even telling the ambassador that certain elements of the controversial deal could be kept a secret.
It was also revealed through documents that Griffith - described by vice-chancellor Ian O'Connor as the "university of choice" for Saudis - offered the embassy a chance to "discuss" ways in which the money could be used.
The Australian first revealed in September that Griffith had received a 100, 000 dollar Saudi grant.
Griffith Islamic Research Unit director Mohamad Abdalla has rejected accusations the Saudi funding would be used to promote Wahabism, saying his centre was opposed to the hard-line ideology and in favour of "moderate" Islam.
Asked why he wanted to weigh in on the topic of Saudi funding, he said: "Like many people, I follow what's out there around the world and I was just concerned in particular about the source of the funding being Saudi Arabia."
The Saudi Government - largely through its embassy - is believed to have funnelled at least 120 million dollars into Australia since the 1970s to bankroll radical clerics, build mosques and propagate hard-line Islam.