Sydney, Oct 23 (UNI) Australia's first National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies was opened today to help counter ignorance of Muslim culture in a time of worldwide tension and unrest.
Speaking at the opening at the University of Melbourne, Vocational and Further Education Minister Andrew Robb said, ''We will see a better informed community and we will make more balanced decisions. And at a time of a lot of tensions around the world, it's very important,'' the Brisbane Times reported.
The center was partially modelled on the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington DC, whose academics help the US government make decisions on Islamic affairs.
Mr Robb said the US government had benefited from Georgetown's center, as they worked to further integrate Muslims in western society.
The Melbourne center offers subjects for non-Muslims and Muslims to gain a deeper understanding of all aspects of Islamic culture.
''It's important that we counter ignorance and that we have a balanced view of Islam, not just by non-Muslims but by Muslims themselves,'' the minister said.