Saudi Prince Gives Universities £16m for Study of Islam

May 8, 2008

Author: Richard Garner

Source: The Independent

Two of the country's best known universities are to set up research centres aimed at promoting a better understanding of Islam.

Cambridge and Edinburgh universities will share a £16m endowment from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Abdulaziz al-Saud, a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family and chairman of the Kingdom Foundation – a charitable and philanthropic foundation set up to alleviate suffering around the world.

Both universities, members of the 20-strong Russell Group, which represents the leading research institutions, will set up study centres with the aim of fostering better understanding between the Muslim world and the West.

In Cambridge, the HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies will seek to develop a "constructive and critical awareness of the role of Islam in wider society". There will be research programmes on Islam in the UK and Europe and the portrayal of Islam in the media. Public lectures, conferences and summer schools will be organised to promote better understanding, with policy makers from both worlds invited to become visiting fellows at the centre.

At Edinburgh, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Modern World will aim to concentrate on promoting understanding of the history of Islamic civilisation and of Muslims in Britain.