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National Security: Secret Saudi funding of Australian institutions

ICC Note

Saudi Arabia is spending billions of dollars in order to spread radical Islam in Australia , Europe, Asia, North America and other parts of the world. This article discusses the strategies used by Saudi Arabia in carrying out its project.

By Mervyn F. Bendle

02/25/2009 Australia ( Australian universities, now driven entirely by financial priorities, have uncritically welcomed Saudi sources of funding, even though this creates a major national security problem, writes Mervyn F. Bendle.

Massive funding is presently being provided by Saudi Arabia to promote Wahhabism, the fundamentalist, exclusivist, punitive, and sectarian form of Islam that is both the Saudi state religion, and the chief theological component of Sunni versions of Islamism, the totalitarian ideology guiding jihadism and most of the active terrorist groups in the world.

Globally, this money is flowing to terrorist groups, political parties and religious and community groups, as well as to universities and schools. In Australia , there is concern that such funding could damage and even corrupt the Australian university system, especially given the existing ideological bias, political naivety, opportunism, managerialism, and the pseudo-entrepreneurial attitudes of many university academics and administrators.

The question of how foreign powers and agents are able to influence, direct or even control tertiary education in Australia and other Western countries is vitally important. This is because the rise of Islamism, jihadism and the present terrorism crisis increasingly involve fourth-generation warfare (4GW).

This operates through various networks, franchises, and forms of leaderless jihad, and proceeds in an undeclared or unacknowledged manner, in accordance with Ayman al-Zawahiri’s description of the Islamist approach to war ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad: “War is deceit [and] triumph is achieved [through] deception”.

Role of Saudi Arabia

Fearing a revolution or coup, the Saudi king, Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who ascended the Saudi throne in 1982, vigorously courted the Wahhabi religious establishment. He adopted the title of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”, entrenched the position of Wahhabism as the Saudi state religion, and initiated massive spending programs to promote Wahhabism across the Muslim world and beyond, largely under the guidance of the World Muslim League.

In order to ensure that the Muslim world knew of the massive scale of the regime’s commitment, the Saudi government English weekly Ain Al-Yaqeen published an article in March 2002 on the “billions spent by Saudi royal family to spread Islam to every corner of the earth”. It described how oil revenues would allow the Saudi regime to “fulfil its ambitions”.

The article continued: “In terms of Islamic institutions, the result is some 210 Islamic centres wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia , more than 1,500 mosques and 202 colleges, and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North and South America , Australia and Asia “.

As a result, in 2005 it was estimated by former CIA director R. James Woolsey that the Saudis had spent some $90 billion since the mid-1970s to export Wahhabism on a global scale, and there has been no evidence of decreased activity in this proselytising effort.

“The Project”

This vast program to promote Wahhabism, Islamism, and Jihadism is directed by various agencies within Saudi Arabia or associated with it. And these generally operate under the ideological and organisational control of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose motto is: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope”, while its oath of allegiance declares that “I believe that… the banner of Islam must cover humanity”.

This vision was subsequently developed and nurtured by subsequent Islamist ideologues such as the late Sayyid Qutb and Said Ramadan, and Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradhawi, who is the head of the department of Islamic law at the University of Qatar and one of the most influential Islamist ideologues in the world today.

This in turn derives much of its material from the mysterious document “Towards a world strategy for political Islam” (also known as “The Project”), which was prepared in 1982 by the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood as a blueprint for their global strategy for Islamist supremacy.


“The Project” has been described as “revealing a top-secret plan developed by the oldest Islamist organisation with one of the most extensive terror networks in the world to launch a program of ‘cultural invasion’ and eventual conquest of the West that virtually mirrors the tactics used by Islamists for more than two decades”. This involves “a totalitarian ideology of infiltration which represents, in the end, the greatest danger for European societies”.


“The Project” can be summarised as follows. It outlines a covert strategy for the gradual and secret promotion of Islamism on a global scale. It involves a complex process of organisational development and subversion, involving mosques, community groups, schools, hospitals, charities, advocacy groups, academic centres, Islamist think-tanks, and publishing companies, all of which are to be linked internationally.

The strategy also involves ordinary political activity in existing structures (e.g., political parties), and alliances with “progressive” Western organisations (e.g., NGOs) that share attitudes and goals with Islamism (e.g., anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, etc).

It requires extensive network-building, and the infiltration of existing or potentially sympathetic organisations – Muslim and non-Muslim – while avoiding open alliances with publicly-known terrorist groups; always promoting a public profile of moderation, coupled with a relentless insistence on Muslim “victimhood”, with a special focus on the situation of the Palestinians, which is to be dramatised at every opportunity.


During this stage of development “The Project” emphasises that it is vital to avoid or minimise any conflicts with or within Western societies that might provoke a backlash and lead to restrictions on Islamist activities. In the longer term, the aim is to develop “security forces” that will protect Islamist organisations and intimidate enemies.

All of this is to be promoted through the media, which has to be carefully cultivated and monitored, while extensive use is to be made of strategically placed agents of influence and useful idiots in the media, universities, etc.

Case study: Griffith University

An excellent case study of how Saudi funding can impact on Australian universities is the recent fiasco at Queensland ‘s Griffith University .

In April 2008, it was revealed 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 Australian, April 22, 2008).

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