October 23, 2007, Sydney Morning Herald
Australia's first National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies will help counter ignorance of Muslim culture in a time of worldwide tension and unrest, Vocational and Further Education Minister Andrew Robb says.Excellent. And the first question of excellence comes from Tina Magaard:
Speaking at the opening at the University of Melbourne, Mr Robb said the centre 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.
The centre will combine resources from the University of Melbourne, Griffith University in Queensland and the University of Western Sydney.
"This is one of the great strengths of this, that we will see a better informed community and we will make more balanced decisions," Mr Robb said.
"And at a time of a lot of tensions around the world, it's very important."
Mr Robb said the US government had benefited from Georgetown's centre, as they worked to further integrate Muslims in western society ...
Islamic texts encourage terror and fighting to a far larger degree than the original texts of other religions, concludes Tina Magaard. She has a PhD in Textual Analysis and Intercultural Communication from the Sorbonne in Paris, and has spent three years on a research project comparing the original texts of ten religions.
“The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with," says Tina Magaard.Moreover, there are hundreds of calls in the Koran for fighting against people of other faiths.
“If it is correct that many Muslims view the Koran as the literal words of God, which cannot be interpreted or rephrased, then we have a problem. It is indisputable that the texts encourage terror and violence. Consequently, it must be reasonable to ask Muslims themselves how they relate to the text, if they read it as it is," says Tina Magaard.Please explain, oh mighty Centre for Excellence.