One obvious criticism is the sheer scale of the operation, meaning that fundamentalist Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar now effectively exercise a swathe of influence over the way in which Islam and Middle East Studies are taught in key Western universities.
The dilemma for the universities is a harbinger of crises to come.
In 2001, the King Abdul Aziz Foundation gave £1 million (SR 6.1 million) to the Middle East Center. Oxford's £75 million (SR 454.6 million) Islamic Studies Center was supported by 12 Muslim countries.
Ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, gave £3.1 million (SR 18.8 million) to Cambridge to fund two posts, including a chair of Arabic.
[T]here is a growing threat to Western leadership around the world.
The threat is not Islamic terrorism (although that is a real and growing threat, especially in Europe, but increasingly in the United States).
A second response for a small number of universities has been to open satellite campuses in foreign countries, several in the Gulf.
For example, University College London, Heriot-Watt University, New York University and Ireland's Royal College of Surgeons run programs, respectively, in Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain.
Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qassimi, has supported Exeter's Islamic studies center with more than £5 million (SR 30 million) since 2001.
Trinity Saint David, part of the University of Wales, has received donations from the ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
Scholarships and degree programs are the favorite and easiest weapons of the Islamist regimes to influence the Western academies and their freedoms.