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Leading Article: Enlightened Islam

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The new research centres announced this week for Cambridge and Edinburgh universities, aimed at promoting a better understanding of Islam, are a clear signal that Middle Eastern countries (in this case, Saudi Arabia), are keen to invest in spreading tolerance and enlightenment.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia's Gulf neighbours, such as Dubai and Qatar, are engaged in an intensely competitive drive (see pages 6 and 7) to convert immense but ephemeral oil and gas riches into a permanent reserve of knowledge and culture. The Education City going up in Qatar is an impressive display of this. The hope must be that it does not become a white elephant. 

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