in frank interviews, members of the Sydney Islamic community discussed the development of their mosques and fund-raising that they say has been wholly focused on construction and community development.
In fund-raising circles, Saudi Arabia is a five-star destination. The Saudi government first gave to Australian Muslims in 1974 – a donation of $1.2 million – and since then, some observers guess, about $100 million has followed.
But the co-editor of Muslim Communities in Australia and a politics lecturer at Monash University, Shahram Akbarzadeh, said it was time for Muslims here to “cut the cord” from overseas funding sources.
“Having a reliance on Saudi funds makes a community indebted to the Saudi [religious] line,” Dr Akbarzadeh said.
The chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council of NSW, Gabr Elgafi, also believes that mosque and school fund-raising committees should be more self-reliant.