Saturday, 26 April 2008


Oh dear. Queensland-based Griffith University has been copping flak over the past few days for asking the government of Saudi Arabia to contribute money towards its Islamic Research Unit, having previously accepted a smaller grant last year. One state judge branded the university "an agent of extreme Islam".

The university's vice-chancellor Ian O'Connor defended accepting the grant and seeking further money, but was today busted by The Australian newspaper for lifting parts of his defence from Wikipedia's article on Wahhabism. Worse, the change that was made to the copied text rendered it inaccurate. The irony that O'Connor had previously gone on the record recommending that Griffith students not use Wikipedia was not lost on the media.

The good news is that while there's been plenty of criticism from journalists and commentators of O'Connor, both for copying in the first place and then for introducing a pretty dumb mistake with his change, there've been no reported problems with the Wikipedia material O'Connor copied. Furthermore, the copy of O'Connor's response on the Griffith website now properly quotes and footnotes Wikipedia. Score one to us, I think :)