Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
The Foreign Minister said the Government had discussed funding of mosques in Australia with the Saudi Government "in particular." He said: "This is of course a matter that goes back well before 9/11. "There has been concern internationally, not specifically to Australia, about some elements in Saudi Arabia which is the heartland of Wahhabism and Sufism [DP: he probably means Salafism] ... trying to spread that particular extremist interpretation of Islam. "Historically the Saudi Arabian Government has provided funding [to overseas mosques], I'm not saying there's anything illegitimate about that ... but we can obviously express a view to the Saudi Arabian Government."
Comment: This extraordinary step needs to be studied and emulated elsewhere. (January 9, 2007)
Nov. 26, 2008 update: For a parallel case, see my weblog entry, "Russian Orthodox Churches in Saudi Arabia?"
Oct. 19, 2010 update: Even more surprisingly, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre turned down Saudi funding for a mosque on the grounds that the kingdom lacks religious freedom. Could this be the start of a trend?
June 20, 2015 update: The half-million or so Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks point, among many other things, to the kingdom's intense interest in influencing Islamic politics in Australia.
July 29, 2016 update: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has raised the idea of prohibiting foreign funding of mosques "for a period to be determined."