Griffith University’s Islamic Research Unit (GIRU) is on the way to becoming the nation’s leading unit for Islamic research with the expansion of its PhD program.

Three PhD candidates are currently undertaking studies at the university with another three starting this year following a $270,000 donation by an overseas philanthropist. Many other PhD applicants are also waiting to join GIRU.

GIRU director Dr Mohamad Abdalla said the ultimate aim of the PhD program was to produce homegrown scholars who understood Islam in an Australian context.

“We want to create informed opinion about Islam in the Australian community and we want our scholars to remain in the country to promote a harmonious way of living,” he said.

“GIRU provides scholarships for research that is aimed at examining and understanding the condition of Islam and Muslims in Australia to bring about positive and lasting changes in our communities.”

“Most importantly, GIRU works with the wider Australian Islamic community to research issues that affect people’s lives as a minority community.”

Dr Abdalla said they had also begun an Islamic studies library collection starting with substantial donation of books, both in English and Arabic, shipped from Qatar in the Middle East.

“We’re hoping that Griffith will have the largest university collection of Islamic reading materials as well as Islamic artefacts.”

Established in 2004, GIRU is part of the university’s Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance.