Religion, Spirituality and Refugee flights

Australia

What role does spirituality and religion play in refugees' flights from their home country and during their resettlement in host countries?

The research question What role does spirituality and religion play in refugees' flights from their home country and during their resettlement in host countries? was explored through a mostly qualitative study that used a grounded theory approach. The research did this by allowing the voices of nineteen (in total) Melbourne-based adult refugees from Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Iraq to be heard. These refugees were of Christian, Muslim and Animist backgrounds of varying religiosities. They fled, mostly between the 1990s and early 2000s, to settle in Australia. These voices are complemented by observations of Melbourne-based refugee settlement practitioners, religious leaders and academics.

The study found that for nearly all refugees their religiosity assisted or greatly assisted them during the refugee experience and during initial settlement in Melbourne. Further, half of the refugees reported a shift in their religiosity from home country chaos to settlement in Melbourne. Also, refugees' religiosity generally increased in the place of asylum, then weakened in Australia, but this level was still higher than that during the events which caused civil chaos in their home countries. Refugee support personnel also observed that refugees' religiosity increased in Melbourne.

In order to answer how different refugees were impacted the grounded study presents A Model of Religiosity and the Refugee Experience: Shifting Typologies at Each Stage of the Refugee Journey for the nineteen refugee participants. The study poses five variable constellations that affected the refugee's religiosity with these being: 1) Home-External, 2) Home-National, 3) Individual, 4) Flight and Asylum, and 5) Host Country. Each constellation has several factors. This study found three main religious responses (with variations within) to the refugee experience: 1) Refugee religious maintainers: (a) Intensified religious maintainers; 2) Refugee religious shifters: (a) Intensified religious shifters, (b) Religious switchers, (c) Religious questioners; and 3) Non-religious refugees.

As presented in the study and summarised in the description of the model, most religious refugees (religious maintainers, refugee switchers and refugee intensifiers - the majority in this study), both Christian and Muslim, appear to understand the refugee experience through their particular collective/individual religious meaning system (often unconsciously formed). The study found the refugees' particular religious meaning system often framed their experience: earth is temporary, heaven is permanent, the devil is present, it's God's/Allah's will. It also prescribed ways of coping via the extensive use of religious rituals at all stages of the refugee experience. Even refugee religious questioners used religious coping methods in times of need.

Several other theoretical findings emerged. For example, those religious refugees and some religious leaders who were interviewed appear to acculturate in multi-faith, secular Australia through their particular religious meaning systems. Findings also suggest collective and individual experience with the 'other' in their home country and asylum can be both positively and in some instances negatively transferred to Australia.

The study's conclusion and an appendix present various practical implications and recommendations for the immigration department, educational programs, and health and psychological support agencies in Australia and possibly beyond.

You can read more about this study here (and download a copy, PDF, 2MB)



Refugees

Source

Image Credit




Religions for Peace

Religions for Peace

Multifaith Education Australia

SRI Victoria

The Recent Victorian Education Department Ministerial Directive №41 requires the posting of curriculum materials for Special Religious Instruction in Victoria to the public domain so that parents may overview the curriculum content. Curriculum materials will be posted to Multifaith Education Australia, the new website for Special Religious Instruction (and multifaith education) in Australia. This website is administered by Religions for Peace Australia under its contractural requirements with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. SRI Curriculum Content is found on this website here

The Golden Rule

Golden Rule, Australian Version

An Australian Version of the Golden Rule Poster is available

Multifaith Australia - Reimaging our Common Future

Reimagining Our Common Future

Religions for Peace Australia, with RMIT Chaplaincy, present Multifaith Australia – Reimagining Our Common Future public lecture by Religions for Peace for World Interfaith Harmony Week. Watch a video of this lecture by Prof. Joe Camillerie and the response by Maria Vamvakinou, MP.

Offer a Meal Movement

Offer a Meal

Religions for Peace Australia invites you to join the worldwide Offer a Meal Movement – a movement which skips a meal a couple of times a month in solidarity with–and prayer for –those suffering from hunger, extreme poverty or violent conflict.

G20 Interfaith Summit: Religious Freedom and Economic Development

G20 Interfaith Summit

Griffith University Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue will conduct a G20 Interfaith Summit on November 16 - 18. This Interfaith Summit will explore Religious Freedom and Economic Development.
Read more .

Interaction

Interaction

Affliated with Religions for Peace Australia, InterAction is Interfaith Youth building a generation-wide movement of young people. Inspired by individual spiritual traditions, InterAction works together to build a better world. Visit Interaction

Anti Racism

Racism, it stops with Me

Religions for Peace has partnered with the Australian Human Rights Commission Anti Racism Strategy

9th World Assembly

Religions for Peace

The 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace was held in Vienna during November, 2013. Theme Papers and Resources are available.