CAIRO – Seeking to become a hub for Islamic studies, the University of South Australia announced its plans to open the first research center for Islamic thought and education.
“In an increasingly globalised world the varied problems facing Muslim societies present new and complex challenges, which need to be addressed from a strength-based approach,” Professor Mohamad Abdalla told The Advertiser on Tuesday, May 3.
“One of the founding values of the center will be the clear focus on genuine and meaningful engagement, which will provide for valuable two-way conversations and insights between the Muslim and broader community.”
Professor Abdalla is set to lead the new Islamic center, moving from Griffith University where he established an Islamic research unit a decade ago.
UniSA Vice-Chancellor David Lloyd said the center would collaborate with international partners, government departments and non-government bodies in Australia and overseas.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
Islam is the country’s second largest religion after Christianity.
In post 9/11 Australia, Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
A 2007 poll taken by the Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA) think-tank found that Australians basically see Islam as a threat to the Australian way of life.
A recent governmental report revealed that Muslims are facing deep-seated Islamophobia and race-based treatment like never before.