Imams Condemn Islamic Teacher

May 3, 2008

Author: Natalie O'Brien

Source: The Australian,25197,23637358-5006789,00.html

ANGRY Muslim groups have attacked the University of Western Sydney over an Islamic studies course they claim is too sexually explicit, promotes lesbianism and derides the Koran as misogynistic.

Students, community members and the Australian National Imams Council have complained about the content of the course, Women in Arabic and Islamic Literature, being taught at the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies. They say it gives a negative view of women in Islam.

The imams council has circulated a petition recording its "deep concern with regards to the course structure and content", saying it involved "repeated and unjustified attacks upon Islam".

Another group, Muslims for Peace, has branded the centre as "evil" and demanded lecturer Samar Habib be dismissed and the course abolished.

"Now that its wicked nature should be crystal clear for all to see, Muslims should fear Almighty Allah and break all connections with this diabolical centre of Kufr (non-believers)," a bulletin on the Muslims for Peace website reads.

Dr Habib has declined to comment. UWS executive dean of the College of Arts Wayne McKenna said that, although the university was yet to receive a direct complaint, it was examining the content of the course.

The NCEIS, set up last year with federal government funds, operates out of three universities: the University of Melbourne, Griffith University in Queensland and UWS. It was established to advance knowledge and understanding of Islam and to play a leadership role in public debate on contemporary Islam.

The course includes excerpts from The Perfumed Garden by Sheik Nafzawi, a book on Arabian erotica written in the 16th century and translated into English in 1886 that has been likened to the Indian Kama Sutra.