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 speak their mother tongue to their parents and outside, they are another person altogether; they dont speak about religion or culture, dresses and acts like their friends and shorten their names or Anglicise it altogether.
Mohamed becomes Moe, Mahmood, Michael, Abdullah, Allan 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 they feel accepted and their accents wont be mocked and they wont be stared at or ridiculed. The divide will only grow wider as young Anglo-Australians rarely meet Muslims or cross into areas where Muslims reside.
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.  These young Muslims 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 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 an issue, 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 not protect Muslims from discrimination although they do protect Jews and Sikhs.