Thursday, April 24, 2008

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Queensland's Professors of Terror? Or just "contextualisers" and "dialoguers"?

Griffith University Professor's 'Scholarship' plagiarised from Wikipedia




A provincial Australian university is housing a Wahhabist Islamic “research centre” involved in the dissemination of misleading religious propaganda from the Saudi House of al-Saud.
Griffith University Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian O'Connor takes to the pages of The Australian to declare the research unit a step towards a “more sustainable pluralistic Australian society.” Yet the Vice Chancellor's very attempt to do so reveals a spectacular ignorance of even his own political agenda, let alone his gullibility to the Wahhabist Saudi regime, and an unfortunate dollop of plagiarism from Wikipedia.


O'Connor admits to Griffith's “solicitation and receipt” of Saudi government funds. This must be a first; the pimp also soliciting! The latest kick-in of $100,000 is designed to defeat what he Connor calls “reactionary,” “conservative” and violent forces opposed to the “progressive” Saudi regime. Progressive Wahhibists? Progressive Saudis? Talk about chutzpah!


The former Social Work academic claims that the “official religion” of the Saudi government is something he calls “Unitarianism.” This is an extraordinary claim. Unitarianism is a Christian notion that rejects the traditional "three natures" of The Blessed Trinity, whose origins stretch back to the Apostolic Age of the first century AD. Unitarianism – in the form of Arianism was declared a heresy of orthodox christianity at the Council of Nicene in 325 AD. Unitarianism in the form of Monophysitism was also declared heretical at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. Theological conflict between Unitarianism and Trinitarianism have been a central feature of Christianity for 2,000 years.


To many, this might seem an arcane matter of ancient theology; and it is. That is why this use of “Unitarianism” by Griffith University is so bizarre. So bear with me for a second to see just how insidious this re-branding strategy really is.

There has never been any non-Unitarianist movement within Islam as Islam was born out of a rejection of the Christian Trinity. In Islam, Trinitarianism has always been rejected as a form of polytheism and any Muslim advocating such a view of god would be dealt with as a blasphemer and heretic. Indeed, this rejection of the Trinity was a major source of competitive advantage for Islam in the conversion of Christians in the Byzantine and Roman empires during Late Antiquity. Many of these Christian converts were followers of the anti-Trinitarian Arius. Arius a popular priest in Alexandria during the early fourth century AD.


Before the Protestant Reformation Muslims were often derided as 'followers of Arius.' Luther himself accused the prophet Muhammad of 'emerging from the sect of Arius.' The revived Unitarianism movement during the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation was a liberal and humanist Christian movement, while in the twentieth century “Universalist Unitarianism” is generally a creedless movement that combines aspects of all religions; the antithesis of the Islamic so-called “Unitarianism” being pimped by O'Connor.


Thus, to speak of Islamic 'Unitarianism' is not only wrong; it also shows a profound and worrying ignorance of the history of christianity and Islam's reaction to it. As the ABC's Religion editors Rachael Kohn, John Cleary and Stephen Crittenden state,

Ian O'Connor's equation of Wahhabism and Salafism with Unitarianism is utter nonsense.


This whole expose increasingly suggests that Griffith University simply does not have the scholarly smarts to run this research centre.

More worryingly, this attempt to rebrand the al-Sauds with the respectable and – more tellingly – Christian imprimatur of 'Unitarianism' is a PR campaign in urgent need of much more investigation, especially if public Australian universities are being co-opted to run the campaign.


And yet O'Connor sees no ethical problems or conflicts with scholarly standards in accepting Saudi money so the Saudi government can use Griffith “as a legitimate alternative to their country's more conservative policies and perspectives.” Since when did Vice Chancellors of Australian public universities see their role as pimping for foreign despotic regimes against the dissent of their own people!? O'Connor is positively giddy that 'no restriction or denmands' were placed on the Saudi donation. Why would they need to with a stooge as Vice Chancellor! It is crystal clear Professor O'Connor has no idead he has signed on to broadcast the religious propaganda of ther Wahhabist al-Sauds!


Where does Wahhabism fit into Griffith University's understanding of Islam and Saudi Arabia? O'Connor claims that "Wahhabism" is merely a pejorative term used by critics of Unitarianis. In other words, O'Connor claims that the Wahhibism known the world over is merely a slur word, but nevertheless the exact same thing as this “Unitarianism” that is the 'official religion of the Saudi government.' And from where has the former social work academic learnt this peculiar spin on Saudi and Islamic history?


Well, he doesn't really need to learn anything as he has plagiarised from Wikipedia, without any attribution. But he cannot even plagiarise without his Saudi paymasters. Where Wikipedia says


The primary doctrine of Wahhabism is Tawhid, or the uniqueness and unity of God. [4] Ibn Abdul Wahhab was influenced by the writings of scholars such as Ibn Taymiyya and rejected medieval interpretations of Islam, relying on Quran and hadith. [5] He preached against a "perceived moral decline and political weakness" in the Arabian peninsula and condemned idolatry, the popular cult of saints, and shrine and tomb visitation. [6] (bold added)


In both The Australian and the ABC's Unleashed O'Connor copies and pastes word for word from the Wikipedia paragraph except substituting the word “Unitarianism” for Wikipedia's “Wahhabism.”


The primary doctrine of Unitarianism is Tawhid, or the uniqueness and unity of God. Wahhab also preached against a perceived moral decline and political weakness in the Arabian peninsula and condemned idolatry, the popular cult of saints, and shrine and tomb visitation. (bold added)


However, Tahwid has nothing to do with Unitarianism. In fact, among its many other totalitarian notions, Tahwid is a declaration of the inseparability of church and state! No rendering unto both Ceasar and god for the Tahwidist! But wait there's more. From which Wikipedia article does the good professor plagiarise? “Wahhabism.” There is no article for Islamic “Unitarianism.” Ouch.


What is motivating O'Connor and the Griffith Islamic centre? It is hard to avoid the suggestion that O'Connor is a foot-soldier in the Leftist Culture War. Hostility towards Christianity and ignorance of basic world history are common features among the Leftist Culture Warriors. Unfortunately, so is gullibility towards Islamism.

For instance, O'Connor shows no awareness that Wahhabism is at war with secularism. And his comparison of past sectarian rifts between Catholics and Protestants with modern-day Christianity and Islam shows a blinkered view egarding current geopolitical machinations. They see their job to smoke out “Islamophobes” rather than watch for Islamist fifth columns taking root in vulnerable lower-tiered universities. Professor, the appropriate comparison is not a dispute between Islam and Christianity, but between Islam and secularism.


As well as ignorance of history, moral relativism naturally looms large. O'Connor directly equates the most reactionary elements of Wahhabism with Christianity. He contrasts what he describes as the Saudi's aim “to develop a form of progressive Islam that has credibility and legitimacy.” Once more he openly admits – probably unwittingly - that Griffith University is accepting money from the Saudis to do their religious and ideological pimping.

Perhaps most alarmingly, O'Connor states the donation 'followed standard practice' in soliciting the money! Clearly, investigation of this scandal needs to be extended to the whole of Griffith University.

And what does O'Conor hope to achieve? Why a “rapproachment between Christianity and Islam,” of course, now that “the violent animosity between Catholics and Protestants has finally been calmed.” By all means we should all champion greater exposure to scholarship in World Religions and History, but we must never accept scholarship plagiarised from Wikipedia or sourced from ethically-questionable foreign despotic regimes.


O'Connor claims the Griffith Islamic Research Unit mission is "to promote mutual understanding between all religions." Sadly, it is stillborn.


UPDATE: Following the concerns raised by CWW The Australian presented O'Connor with the issues relating to his use of 'Unitarianism', 'Tahwid', as well as the plagiarism. O'Connor conceded error on all accounts, but his justification and excuses raise even more suspicions. More later.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this for real? Didn't they even pass the articles onto others for verification?

curly said...

This is just more anti-Muslim racist shit. How can we all live together if you Islamophobes won't let moderate Muslims have a voice?

Culture Warrior Watch said...

curly

When it comes to academic standards in our universities this is absolutely unacceptable from a Vice Chancellor. To be ignorant of History is one thing, but to be ignorant of the terrorist sympathisers and financiers who are funding you is outrageous.

But what is worst of all is that Professor Ian O'Connor has so brazenly plagiarised from, of all sources, Wikipedia. This Islamic research unit needs to be shut down and the Vice Chancellor must resign.

This is not "Islamophobia." It is maintaining academic standards and guarding against fraud.

Anonymous said...

Even the ABC has now distanced itself from O'Connor. What is going on here?

Moderator: The ABC notes this allegation of plagarism. The responsibility for the content of the article lies with the author.

http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2226078.htm#comments

Anonymous said...

This is all nonsense.

Re Plagiarism: The article O'Connor wrote does have references and does attribute sections to wikipedia. (See Griffith website). So there is no "plagiarism". Obviously newspapers don't include references in opinion pieces - they aren't academic journals. Of course some people don't like wikipedia (the apparently Australian doesn't), but that is a matter of opinion and personal preference.

Re Unitarianism: This seems to be the English word that the Saudis use for their brand of Islam, and you can't really blame O'Connor for that. To clarify: "The term "Wahhabi" (Wahhābīya) was first used by opponents of ibn Abdul Wahhab and is considered derogatory and rarely used by the people it is used to describe, who prefer to be called "unitarians" (Muwahiddun)."[FYI - yes, this is taken from wikipedia :-)]

Culture Warrior Watch said...

Anonymous

Actually, on the front page of today's Oz, O'Connor has admitted to all charges. However, he has raised even more disturbing (and tawdry) machinations. This story has a long way to go yet.

Anonymous said...

Well, actually what O'Connor admitted was that "a small number of sentences were not directly attributed were not directly attributed", i.e. that although they were referenced as coming from Wikipeda they were not acknowledged as direct quotes. He specifically denies plagiarism.

Also, as quoted by the Oz he says "Dr Abdalla confirms the more correct label is Muwahiddun, rather than the popular but problematic term Wahhabism." However, Dr Abulla also says "The label or term Muwahiddun is most accurately translated into English as Unitarianism"! see I am beginning to think that Oz reporters cant read.

BTW the $100,000 grant that the Oz "revealed" is published in Griffith University promotional pamphlets, and is chicken-feed as research money goes. (The Australian Govt. gives $8,000,000 to the Islamic Centre.)

Another Anonymous said...

Anon

That Griffith website statement was only updated after the Oz revelations. But you have to admit it is still very odd that a university Professor has so uncritically relied on such a source as Wikipedia. Is that all he knows about Islam?

SP said...

Even the ABC's Religious experts have said they are ignorant and misprepresnting Islam very badly.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23599039-28737,00.html

James said...

Why should Stephen Crittenden have a problem with Wikipedia? After all, he has cited Wikipedia in a number of his episodes and makes use of it.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Crittenden is a moron. He says that there are no non-Unitarian movements in Islam. How does he account for Ismailis? What about the Nusayris? They have Trinitarian beliefs. What about the Druze?

Crittenden describes Unitarianism as a Christian movement. Crap. Try telling Dr Jensen or Cardinal Pello that unitarianism is Christian.

If Unitarianism is Christian because it emerged from Christianity, then Nusayri'ism is Islamic because it emerged from Shia Islam.

sp said...

james

As you say Crittenden cites and acknowledges. Surely, at the very least this is what a university Professor and Vice Chancellor should do? Anyway isn't the whole issue that O'Connor has no idea what he was talking about and that's why he has got into so much trouble?

sp said...

Anyway lets be honest. Just about all of Islam is just copied and pasted from christianity.

Anonymous said...

It is worth noting that the opinion piece in question was written by O'Connor as vice-chancellor (responding to adverse criticism of his university), and as such was presumably put together by staffers.

If anyone still really cares about the "unitarianism" issue, then it is pretty clear that the O'Connor piece was factually correct and the so-called experts (like the group of ABC presenters) don't really know what they are talking about. For example,
"Saudi Muslims think of themselves as "Muwahiddun" or "Unitarians." Muslims who believe Allah is the one and only one, and is the only legitimate derivation of correct Islamic beliefs. This consensus has been a basic part of Saudi society and culture since the founding of the first Al Saud state."
from http://www.saudi-us-relations.org/defense/islamic-extremism-terrorism.html
which seems to be a Saudi run site.

Culture Warrior Watch said...

Anonymous

There is no such "consensus." This is just a university way out of its depth prepared to turn any tricks for money.

Anonymous said...

CWW: 'Admitted all charges', I think not! The most serious of charges levelled against him in your ghosted Oz piece was that of plagiarism, and of that O'Connor was resolutely defiant. do you have any further 'evidence' to sustain that charge?

Another Anonymous said...

The two articles above and the coverage in The Australian and the ABC show clearly he plagiarised.

Mashe said...

Unitarians are not Christians. They deny the Trinity (as anyone with any common sense would). They deny the divinity of Jesus. They deny the Catholic notion that Jesus is God and man at the same time.

These unitarian beliefs are identical to Jewish and Moslem beliefs about God. Jews and Moslems understand that the Trinity is an irrational pagan belief. When will Christians reach this conclusion? When will they stop worshipping a pagan trinity?

Culture Warrior Watch said...

mashe

When will you learn to read? Who said the Christians WERE unitarians? Anyway, the fools and plagiarisers from Griffith are talking about "Unitarianism," which they claim is the "official religion of Saudi Arabia."

RupertG said...

OK, so let's just say the VC did somehow plagiarise from Wiki. Does that mean we should all be concerned that Griffith is going to turn into a bin-Ladin franchise over a mere $100,000?

Amazing how The Oz doesn't run this line now. Maybe it's 'cause Crikey ran a story on how the Saudi royal family has spent even more in NewsCorp shares ...

But don't expect CWW to hack into NewsCorp for taking money from wahhabist extremists.

Culture Warrior Watch said...

rupertg

There is far more than $100,000 involved. MY interest is in maintaining intellectual, academic, and scholarly integrity in this country. Griffith University fails dismally. It has employed a totally inappropriate and unqualified cleric to an academic post and this must (and will) be exposed.

Islamists from the National Imams Council to Keysar Trad are trying to run the curriculums in our universities. These people are not only unqualified but offensive in their political ambitions and thus must be exposed.

I do not give a damn about NewsCorp. This is about knowledge and a contemptible medieval cult using its petro-terrorist dollars to bring our country down to their level.

Like many others, I will fight.

What will you do?