Challenges facing Australian Muslims

Challenges facing Australian Muslims In Australia we have many young Muslims, born in Australia but living between two worlds. At home they are the obedient Muslim, who speaks Arabic to his parents and outside, he is another person altogether, doesn’t speak about his religion or his culture, dresses and acts like his mates and shortens his name or Anglicises it altogether. Mohamed becomes Mo, Mustafa, Mus, Abdullah, Ab and Rabih – Robbie and so on. The problem is complex but it is one that most adolescents must invariably experience on some stage in their development. Yet, for Muslim kids it’s becoming increasingly different with the rise in Islamaphobia and anti-Islamic sentiments filtering through the media and into politics and society.
There is an ‘us and them’ mentality and many young Muslims prefer to hang out with their own, where their accents wont be mocked, they wont be stared out or ridiculed and where they feel accepted. The divide will only grow wider as young Australians who live in the northern beaches or in the Eastern suburbs, will rarely have met or know any one of Middle Eastern origin, unless they happen to be Lebanese Christians who attend the same Catholic school.
Muslim identity is emerging as a unique blend of Australian and Islamic culture and finding its niche in Australia, where there is a rather easy going attitude and a somewhat naïve view of the world. Sometimes referred to as Aussie Mossies, these young people were born in Australia, had a generally easy upbringing not facing the same level of racism as their parents generation and have also been encouraged to discover their Islamicness through access to mosques, Islamic schools, organisations and to access it through on-line sources.
While there have been many issues raised through the media and the so-called ‘War on Terror’ declared by the USA, this has drawn more people to research Islam and to understand it more while also many people have felt their faith under attack and reasserted their approach to Islam making it more overt and determined. Therefore we have also seen an emergence of interfaith dialogue, Islamic activism and Muslims in the media.
Young Australian Muslims (Aussie Mossies) are now educated in fields of law, medicine, human rights, sociology, psychology and journalism among others and have taken leadership in various fields. Muslim identity is still a problem, however, there is a strong likelihood that young Australian Muslims will blend into the mainstream and be uniquely Australian in their own right.
There are other problems facing Muslim youth associated socio-economic disadvantage and social isolation. There are many Muslims who come from new and emerging communities who are still struggling with poverty and learning to live in Australian society. They tend to be isolated by the way they dress, the language barrier and geographically be situated in Western Sydney or Western Melbourne for example. Muslims still experience racism and discrimination in the workplace as well as in general in hospitals, in shopping centres and on public transport. In NSW current laws do protect Muslims from discrimination although they do protect Jews and Sikhs.