Islam in Australia
|Islam by country|
Islam in Australia is a minority religious affiliation. According to the 2011 census, 476,291 people, or 2.2% of the total Australian population, were Muslims. This made Islam the fourth largest religious grouping, after all forms of Christianity (61.1%), irreligion (22.9%), and Buddhism (2.5%). Demographers attribute Muslim community growth trends during the most recent census period to relatively high birth rates, and recent immigration patterns. The vast majority of Muslims in Australia belong to Sunni denomination, with sizeable Shia and Sufi minorities.
While the Australian Muslim community is defined largely by religious belonging, the Muslim community is fragmented racially, ethnically, culturally and linguistically. Members of the Australian Muslim community thus also espouse parallel non-religious ethnic identities with related non-Muslim counterparts, either within Australia or abroad.
- 1 History
- 2 Contemporary society
- 3 Organisations
- 4 Demography
- 5 Notable Australian Muslims
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
1860 to 1900
Some of the first Muslims thought to have migrated to Australia were the "Afghan" camel drivers during the mid to late 19th century. Between 1860 and the 1890s a number of Central Asians came to Australia to work as camel drivers. Camels were first imported into Australia in 1840, initially for exploring the arid interior (see Australian camel), and later for the camel trains that were uniquely suited to the demands of Australia's vast deserts. The first camel drivers arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, in June 1860, when eight Muslims and Hindus arrived with the camels for the Burke and Wills expedition. The next arrival of camel drivers was in 1866 when 31 men from Rajasthan and Baluchistan arrived in South Australia with camels for Thomas Elder. Although they came from several countries, they were usually known in Australia as 'Afghans' and they brought with them the first formal establishment of Islam in Australia.
Cameleers settled in the areas near Alice Springs and other areas of the Northern Territory and inter-married with the Indigenous population. The Adelaide, South Australia to Darwin, Northern Territory, railway is named The Ghan (short for The Afghan) in their memory.
During the 1870s, Muslim Malay divers were recruited through an agreement with the Dutch to work on Western Australian and Northern Territory pearling grounds. By 1875, there were 1800 Malay divers working in Western Australia. Most returned to their home countries.
1900 to 2010s
In the early 20th century, immigrant Muslims of non-European descent were denied entry to Australia under the provisions of the White Australia policy, however, Muslims of European descent were allowed to enter Australia under the same policy. In the 1920s and 1930s Albanian Muslims, whose European heritage made them compatible with the White Australia Policy, immigrated to the country. Albanian Muslims built the first mosque in Shepparton, Victoria in 1960 and the first mosque in Melbourne in 1963.
Notable events involving Australian Muslims during this early period include what might be described as the first attack planned against Australian civilians to be motivated by political Islam. The attack was carried out at Broken Hill, New South Wales, in 1915, in what was described as the Battle of Broken Hill. Two Afghans who pledged allegiance to the Islamic Ottoman Empire murdered four Australians before being killed by the police.
The perceived need for population growth and economic development in Australia led to the broadening of Australia’s immigration policy in the post-World War II period. This allowed for the acceptance of a number of displaced Muslims who began to arrive from Europe mainly from the Balkans, especially from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Between 1967 and 1971, approximately 10,000 Turkish citizens settled in Australia under an agreement between Australia and Turkey.
Also, from the 1970s onwards, there was a significant shift in the government’s attitude towards immigration. Instead of trying to make newer foreign nationals assimilate and forgo their heritage, the government became more accommodating and tolerant of differences by adopting a policy of multiculturalism.
Larger-scale Muslim migration began in 1975 with the migration of Lebanese Muslims, which rapidly increased during the Lebanese Civil War from 22,311 or 0.17% of the Australian population in 1971, to 45,200 or 0.33% in 1976. Lebanese Muslims are still the largest and highest-profile Muslim group in Australia, although Lebanese Christians form a majority of Lebanese Australians, outnumbering their Muslim counterparts at a 6 to 4 ratio.
By the beginning of the 21st-century, Muslims from more than sixty countries had settled in Australia. While a very large number of them come from Bosnia, Turkey, and Lebanon, there are Muslims from Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Fiji, Albania, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, among others. At the time of the 2011 census, 476,000 Australians (representing 2.2 percent of the population) reported Islam as their religion.
Relations with broader Australian public
Relations between Australian Muslims and the broader Australian public are peaceful. However, on a small number of occasions in the 2000s and 2010s tensions have flared. Racial tensions in Sydney in the early 2000s led to the 2005 Cronulla riots. In 2012 a protest in central Sydney against the film Innocence of Muslims resulted in rioting.
Muslim Community Reference Group
After 7 July 2005 London bombings, Prime Minister Howard established a Muslim Community Reference Group and said that no radicals would be invited to join.
Perceptions of prejudice
A 2004 report from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission pointed to many Muslim Australians who felt the Australian media was unfairly critical of, and often vilified their community due to generalisations of terrorism and the emphasis on crime. The use of ethnic or religious labels in news reports about crime was thought to stir up racial tensions.
Broader Muslim community
There are developed trade links between Australia and several Muslim countries, particularly Middle Eastern, for instance through the export of halal meat. The meat export industry is regulated in Australia and managed by the Meat and Livestock Association.
Influence of Islamic preachers
Islamic preachers in Australia have been covered in the Australian press on account of the messages they've delivered publicly to the Muslim community or have otherwise shared with others in public settings. In some instances various ideas and viewpoints espoused by these preachers have been subject of public or internal debate.
In October 2006, Muslim cleric Taj El-Din Hilaly compared women who do not wear the Islamic veil to "uncovered meat", implying that they were responsible for gang rapes perpetrated by Muslims; "if the meat was covered, the cats wouldn't roam around it". Hiali's comments echoed earlier comments placing the blame on women for rape made by Sheik Feiz Mohammed. Angry responses to the comments were made from Muslim women as well as non-Muslim figures.
in January 2008, cleric Samir Abu Hamza, leader of the Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia, told his male followers they can beat and rape their wives if they're disobedient. He also denounced Australian culture as one of beer, gambling, and prostitutes. These comments were condemned by both the Muslim community and the public at large; Prime Minister Kevin Rudd demanded an apology for the comments, saying "Australia will not tolerate these sorts of remarks. They don't belong in modern Australia, and he should stand up, repudiate them and apologise".
In March 2011, Imam Sheikh Taj El-Din Hilaly denounced Feiz Mohammad. He called Feiz Mohammad dangerous, and insisted that he be banned from delivering sermons to young Muslims. He said his preaching "can lead young people to move away from their family and community [and] to distance and isolate themselves." He added, "If religion had something like the Australian Medical Association, or a trade authority, they would not allow him to be preaching, they wouldn't give him a licence ... I haven't seen a change in him."
Concerns and contemporary issues
A number of various of concerns and contemporary issues face the local Australian Muslim community including rates of unemployment, the rights of women, concerns over Islamism and/or Islamic radicalism among others.
Average wages of Muslims are much lower than those of the national average, with just 5% of Muslims earning over $1000 a week compared to the average of 11%. Unemployment rates amongst Muslims born overseas are higher than Muslims born in Australia.
As part of the broader issue of women's rights under Islam (particularly in light of the misogynistic statements by Islamic leaders) the perceived gender inequality in Islam has often been the focal point of criticism in Australia via comparisons to the situation of women in Islamic nations. Muslim women face hurdles both from within the Muslim community and from the wider community.
Islamic militant extremism
A number of forums and meetings have been held about the problem of extremist groups or ideology within the Australian Islamic community. Jamaah Islamiyah’s bomb attack on the Bali tourist resort in Indonesia on 12 October 2002, killed 88 Australians. Some 20 Australians were killed on 9/11. Australia’s Prime Minister, John Howard, was in Washington on 9/11. Australia immediately committed special forces to the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
In 2014, two Australian Islamic extremists made a promotional video encouraging Australians to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a militant Sunni group which has been proscribed by Australian authorities as a terrorist organisation. The Australian Government has said it believed, "150 Australians have been or are currently overseas fighting with extremists in Iraq and Syria," with some of their activities said to be possible war crimes. In July 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) announced, an Australian suicide bomber killed three people in Baghdad. He was followed by another Australian who detonated his suicide bomb near a Shi’ite mosque, which killed 5 and injured 90 people. Sydney's Muslim leaders, including Keysar Trad, have condemned the actions of the suicide bombers and denounced ISIS.
A number of Australian Islamists have been arrested. One Australian arrested had links with a Lebanese Islamist group Fatah al-Islam and reportedly commanded 300 militiamen. Another, arrested for terrorist activity, was a Lebanese-Australian cleric, with links to al-Qaeda. Another, said to be an, "Australian religious extremist", boasted he had travelled to the Middle East to join jihadists, but was arrested in the Philippines. One jihadist was pictured, with along with his son, holding decapitated heads. There was public outrage.
The Attorney-General Senator George Brandis has expressed concern that those fighting jihad, then returning from the Middle East, represent, "the most significant risk to Australia’s security that we have faced in many years." ASIO is concerned that Australians fighting jihad may return home to plan terror attacks.
Psychiatrist Tanveer Ahmed has examined underlying causes and has identified the significance of issues relating to 'family' and to 'denial'. He has said, "Muslim youths have unique difficulties in coming to terms with their identity, especially when they have conflicting value systems at home compared with school or work". Academic Rodger Shanahan has said that it is Muslim community leaders who have the greatest responsibility for defeating the ideological component that is fuelling the threat to Australian nationals.
A number of organisations and associations are run by the Australian Islamic community including mosques, private schools and charities and other community groups and associations.
A number of organisations within the Muslim community are focused primarily on the needs of Muslim women. These organisations provide assistance and support for Muslim women in need.
Some organisations are broader community associations representing large segments of the Australian Muslim public. These organisations are usually termed "Islamic councils."
The following is a breakdown of the country of birth of Muslims in Australia from 2001:
|Country of origin||% of Muslim pop.|
The distribution by state of the nation's Islamic followers has New South Wales with 50% of the total number of Muslims, followed by Victoria (33%), Western Australia (7%), Queensland (5%), South Australia (3%), ACT (1%) and both Northern Territory and Tasmania sharing 0.3%.
The majority of people who reported Islam as their religion in the 2006 Census were born overseas: 58% (198,400). Of all persons affiliating with Islam in 2006 almost 9% were born in Lebanon and 7% were born in Turkey.
During the 1980s the Australian Muslim population increased from 76,792 or 0.53% of the Australian population in 1981, to 109,523 or 0.70% in 1986. In the 2011 Census, the Muslim population was 479,300 or 2.25%, an increase of 438% on the 1981 number.
The general increase of the Muslim population in this decade was from 147,487 or 0.88% of the Australian population in 1991, to 200,885 or 1.12% in 1996.
In 2005 the overall Muslim population in Australia had grown from 281,600 or 1.50% of the general Australian population in 2001, to 340,400 or 1.71% in 2006. The growth of Muslim population at this time was recorded as 3.88% compared to 1.13% for the general Australian population.
Many Muslims living in Melbourne are Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and Turkish Muslims. Melbourne's Australian Muslims live primarily in the northern suburbs surrounding Broadmeadows (mostly Turkish) and a few in the outer southern suburbs such as Noble Park and Dandenong (mainly Bosniaks).
Very few Muslims live in regional areas with the exceptions of the sizeable Turkish and Albanian community in Shepparton, Victoria and Malays in Katanning, Western Australia. A community of Iraqis have settled in Cobram on the Murray River in Victoria.
Mirrabooka and neighbouring Girrawheen contain predominantly Bosniak communities. The oldest mosque in Perth is the Perth Mosque on William Street in Northbridge. It has undergone many renovations although the original section still remains. Other mosques in Perth are located in Rivervale, Mirrabooka, Beechboro and Hepburn.
There are also communities of Muslims from Turkey, the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) and South-East Asia, in Sydney and Melbourne, the Turkish communities around Auburn, New South Wales and Meadow Heights and Roxburgh Park and the South Asian communities around Parramatta. Indonesian Muslims, are more widely distributed in Darwin.
There is a deep split within the Australian Muslim community. Many of the Muslims in New South Wales are Arabs but there are also Turkish and Bosnian Muslim communities, while Victoria has predominantly Bosnian, Turkish or Albanian Muslims.
According to Australia's 2011 census, 1,140 people identify as Aboriginal Muslims, almost double the number of Aboriginal Muslims recorded in the 2001 census. Many are converts and some are descendants of Afghan cameleers or, as in the Arnhem Land people, have Macassan ancestry. In north east Arnhem Land, there is some Islamic influence on the songs, paintings, dances, prayers with certains hymns to "Allah" and funeral rituals like facing west during prayers, roughly the direction of Mecca, and ritual prostration reminiscent of the Muslim sujud. As a result of Malay indentured laborers, plenty of families in Northern Australia have names like Doolah, Hassan and Khan. The boxer Anthony Mundine is a member of this community. Many indigenous converts are attracted to Islam because they see a compatibility between Aboriginal and Islamic beliefs, while others see it as a fresh start and an aid against common social ills afflicting indigenous Australians, such as alcohol and drug abuse.
Lebanese Muslims form the core of Australia's Muslim Arab population, particularly in Sydney where most Arabs in Australia live. Approximately 3.4% of Sydney's population are Muslim. Adherents of the Sunni denomination of Islam are concentrated in the suburb of Lakemba and surrounding areas such as Punchbowl, Wiley Park, Bankstown and Auburn.
Although the first Somali community in Victoria was established in 1988, most Somalis began to settle in the country in the early 1990s following the civil war in Somalia. Somalis are active in the wider Australian Muslim community, and have also contributed significantly to local business.
Turkish Muslims are a significant segment of the Australian Muslim community. Some statistical reports forecast the Turkish Muslim population in Australia surpassing the Lebanese Muslim population in the 2020s and 2030s. The majority of Turkish Muslims in Sydney are from Auburn, Eastlakes and Prestons. Despite still having a large Turkish population in Auburn and Eastlakes, many Turks moved out of these areas and moved to Prestons to be close to the new and growing Turkish private school, Sule College which is run by people closely affiliated with the worldwide Feza Foundation. Adherents of the Shi'a denomination of Islam is centred in the St George region of Sydney, Campbelltown, Fairfield, also Auburn and Liverpool, with the al-Zahra Mosque being built at Arncliffe in 1983, However there are also a small number of adherents to the Ahmadiyya sect.
Notable Australian Muslims
- Randa Abdel-Fattah
- Aziza Abdel-Halim
- Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen
- Fawad Ahmed
- Ameer Ali
- Waleed Aly
- Abdul Nacer Benbrika
- Muhammed Dawood - former Muslim
- Ahmed Fahour
- Mamdouh Habib
- Abu Hamza
- Sheik Haron
- Taj El-Din Hilaly
- Bachar Houli
- Ed Husic
- Nazeem Hussain
- John Ilhan
- John Ibrahim
- Usman Khawaja
- Bilal Khazal
- Rashid Mahazi
- Hazem El-Masri
- Feiz Mohammad
- Anthony Mundine
- Fehmi Naji
- Aamer Rahman
- Jack Roche
- Osamah Sami
- Keysar Trad
- Samina Yasmeen
- Irfan Yusuf
- Religion in Australia
- Islam by country
- Islamic organisations in Australia
- Militant Islamist Incidents in Australia
- "Old trend no leap of faith". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- The Wall Street Journal http://blogs.wsj.com/dispatch/2012/06/21/australians-lose-their-faith/
|url=missing title (help).
- Jones, Philip G and Kenny, Anna (2007) Australia’s Muslim cameleers : pioneers of the inland, 1860s–1930s Kent Town, S. Aust. : Wakefield Press. ISBN 978-1-86254-778-0
- Arthur Clark (January–February 1988). "Camels Down Under". Saudi Aramco World. Retrieved 19 November 2006.
- Dr Nahid Kabir (7 September 2007). "A History of Muslims in Australia". The (Dhaka) Daily Star, Bangladesh. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
- "Cultural Diversity in Australia". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Muslim Australians – E-Brief
- "Govt Hopes No Islamic Protests In Melbourne." Nine MSN. Accessed Sep. 20, 2014.
- "National consultations on eliminating prejudice against Arab and Muslim Australians". HREOC. 16 June 2004. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
- Dailymail – Outrage as Muslim cleric likens women to 'uncovered meat
- BBC News – Excerpts of al-Hilali's speech
- BBC News – Australia fury at cleric comments
- Muslim leader's rape comments under fire
- Muslims must speak out, or be condemned for their silence
- We're not fresh meat: Muslim women hit back
- Islamic cleric Samir Abu Hamza 'must back down', www.news.com.au. Retrieved on 25 January 2008
- Muslim Holy Man Says Aussies Love Gambling, Hookers, and Beer, Online Casino Advisory. Retrieved on 25 January 2008
- Perth Islamic group slams Victorian cleric's violent views, www.watoday.com.au. Retrieved on 25 January 2008
- Hughes, Gary. Cleric told to apologise for video remarks on rape, The Australian. Retrieved on 25 January 2008
- Bashan, Yoni (20 March 2011). "Al-Qaeda video featured on Sheik's website". News.com.au. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- Yoni Bashan (20 March 2011). "Sheik Feiz Mohammed denounced". The Sunday Telegraph. News Corporation.
- ".". theaustralian.com. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Heed the PM's call for women's rights
- Muslims' youth summit plan
- Sydney's Muslims fear revenge attacks
- Lloyd, Peter (21 June 2014). "Australian militants Abu Yahya ash Shami and Abu Nour al-Iraqi identified in ISIS recruitment video". ABC News. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Australian National Security - Islamic State". Australian Government. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Latika Bourke, Latika (19 June 2014). "Number of Australians fighting with militants in Iraq and Syria 'extraordinary', Julie Bishop says". ABC News. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Foreign Service (25 July 2014). "'Bucket full of heads any1 in aus want some organs please dont be shy to ask': Smirking Australian terrorist poses with decapitated heads in sickening pictures posted online". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Wroe, David (18 July 2014). "First Australian suicide bomber in Iraq reportedly kills three people in Baghdad". SMH. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Benson, Simon; Mullany, Ashley (19 July 2014). "Sydney teen kills five in suicide bombing on crowded Iraqi market". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Wroe, David (22 July 2014). "Australian jihadist arrested in Lebanon". The Age. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Australian-Lebanese cleric Hussam al-Sabbagh arrested for 'terrorist activity'". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 July 2914.
- Murdoch, Lindsay (11 July 2014). "Australian Islamic preacher Musa Cerantonio arrested in the Philippines". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Crane, Emily (11 August 2014). "'I'm sure you've seen much worse than that': Staggering reaction of uncle of Australian boy, SEVEN, who was pictured brandishing head of slaughtered Syrian soldier". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Maley, Paul (12 August 2014). "Jihad’s ‘child soldiers’ spark calls for action on extremists". The Australian. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Brendan Nicholson (17 July 2014). "Returned radicalised jihadis ‘a significant risk’, says ASIO". The Australian. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Marszalek, Jessica (17 July 2014). "ASIO fears Australians fighting jihad overseas may return home to plan terror attacks". The Australian. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Irvine, David (12 August 2014). "Director-General's speech: Address to the Australian Institute of International Affairs "Evolution of terrorism - and what it means for Australia"". Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- Ahmed, Tanveer (14 August 2014). "Muslim communities must face up to bad apples". The Australian. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- Shanahan, Rodger (7 July 2014). "Sectarian violence: The Threat to Australia". National Security College, Crawford School of Public Policy. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- HREOC FACT SHEET : Australian Muslims
- "3416.0 – Perspectives on Migrants, 2007: Birthplace and Religion". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "Cultural diversity". 1301.0 – Year Book Australia, 2008. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "Social integration of Muslim Settlers in Cobram" (PDF). Centre for Muslim Minorities and Islam Policy Studies – Monash University. 2006. Archived from the original on 2 September 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- Janak Rogers (24 June 2014). "When Islam came to Australia". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- Phil Mercer (31 March 2003). "Aborigines turn to Islam". BBC. Retrieved 19 November 2006.
- Aboriginal Muslims Find Strength In Islam :: MuslimVillage.net
- Kathy Marks, The Independent Militant Aborigines embrace Islam to seek empowerment. 28 February 2003. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
- Janak Rogers (24 June 2014). "When Islam came to Australia". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 25 June 2014. "This sense of the compatibility of Aboriginal and Islamic beliefs is not uncommon, says Peta Stephenson, a sociologist at Victoria University. Shared practices include male circumcision, arranged or promised marriages and polygamy, and similar cultural attitudes like respect for land and resources, and respecting one's elders. "Many Aboriginal people I spoke with explained these cultural synergies often by quoting the well-known phrase from the Koran that 124,000 prophets had been sent to the Earth," says Stephenson. "They argued that some of these prophets must have visited Aboriginal communities and shared their knowledge.""
- History of immigration from Somalia
- Senator Evans to attend Somali festivities in Melbourne
- "Muslim Journeys – Arrivals – Lebanese". National Archives of Australia. 2001. Retrieved 16 February 2009.[dead link]
- "The Special Case: the Ahmadiyya Muslims". Global Politician. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Aslan, Alice. "Islamophobia In Australia"
- Boundless Plains: The Australian Muslim Connection, By Islamic Museum of Australia. Author: Moustafa Fahour
- Cleland, Bilal. The Muslims in Australia: A Brief History. Melbourne: Islamic Council of Victoria, 2002.
- Deen, Hanifa. Muslim Journeys. Online: National Archives of Australia, 2007.
- Drew, Abdul Shaheed. Muslims in Australia since the 1600s
- Kabir, Nahid. Muslims in Australia: Immigration, Race Relations and Cultural History. London: Kegan Paul, 2004.
- Kabir, Nahid (July 2006). "Muslims in a 'White Australia': Colour or Religion?". Immigrants and Minorities 24 (2): 193–223. doi:10.1080/02619280600863671.
- Saeed, Abdullah. Islam in Australia. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2003.
- Saeed, Abdullah and Shahram Akbarzadeh, eds. Muslim Communities in Australia. Sydney: UNSW Press, 2001.
- Stevens, Christine. Tin Mosques and Ghantowns.
- Woodlock, Rachel and John Arnold (eds). Isolation, Integration and Identity: The Muslim Experience in Australia. Special Issue of The La Trobe Journal. Melbourne, Victoria: State Library of Victoria Foundation, 2012.
- Islam in Australia - at Oxford Bibliographies Online
- Islamic Museum of Australia
- Australian Federation of Islamic Councils
- Muslim Journeys – historical community biography produced by the National Archives of Australia
- Australian Multicultural Foundation
- Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001 Census Dictionary – Religion category
- Australia's Muslim Cameleers