Youth in Australia: Muslim and Australian

Dr Mohamad Abdalla

Being the last day of school for many Queensland students, Dr Mohamad Abdalla took the opportunity at a Friday sermon to deliver an impassioned appeal to the young boys and girls in the congregation to embrace their identity in this country both as Muslims and as Australians

Dr Mohamad Abdalla addressed the many challenges that they faced going into the real world, ranging from the question of boyfriends and girlfriends, drinking alcohol and smoking, music and what constituted ‘fun’.

He criticised the community?its Imams and leaders and their various organisations for not having been unable to work together to find solutions for these challenges.

“Often internal conflict, politics and our inability to work together is the leading cause for not being able to provide the youth with proper answers, proper infrastructures to help them meet these challenges.”

Dr Abdalla argued that the media attack on Islam and Muslims over the past decades might have caused many to feel inferior, and not being able to belong, or feeling un-Australian despite the fact that you may have been born here, nurtured here and who know no other country than Australia.

He offered this advice:

One of the best ways to meet this challenge is to educate yourself about Islam, Islamic history and the many great contributions that Islam and Muslims gave to the world. Educate yourself beyond the usual rhetoric that you hear at ‘usual’ Friday prayers at your local mosque. You need to rise beyond that level of education.

And, don’t wait for someone to come and take you by the hand. Don’t wait for the leaders and Imams. They have their hands full. You must initiate the process. You must lead the way. Learn more about Islam, its people and its history. And know that knowledge is power.

Dr. Abdalla pointed out that there was a perception among many of us that it is fine to be an Indian Muslim, Pakistani Muslim, Algerian Muslim, and Palestinian Muslim. And so on. But, for some reason, there is a false perception that it is not fine to be an Australian Muslim. The ‘Australian’ part is seen by some as ‘kufr’ (unbelief). “Don’t be fooled by this simplistic and false understanding,” he told his congregation. “Don’t be afraid to say you are a Muslim and an Australian. Don’t be afraid to say that you are an Australian Muslim. Denying one’s Australianness was akin to denying a very long history of Islam in Australia.

“Islam is part of the Australian fabric.” Being Australian does not mean that you have to drink and gamble. It does not mean that you have to choose what is negative. You should have a positive identity. You should be a Muslim who says if something is good then it is mine. If it is bad it is not mine.

Drinking is not mine. Gambling is not mine. Pornography is not mine. Boyfriends and girlfriends are not for me. Night clubs are not for me. Drugs are not for me.

But this is not what makes Australia and the Australian identity. If you think this is what Australia is all about then you need to wake up from your sleep and slumber.

And who said there is no drinking, gambling, pornography and night clubs in ‘Muslim’ countries? These negative aspects of society are found everywhere, unfortunately.

Dr Abdalla went on to say that there was more to being Australian than these bad customs.

  • Sport – Cricket; Rugby; Soccer
  • Fairness, egalitarianism
  • Informality (take it easy mate; she’ll be alright…)
  • Sense of humour
  • Good Literature
  • Mateship – equality and friendship
  • Support for the weak
  • Support for the homeless
  • Support for the unemployed…and so on

These are unique aspects of Australia and of being Australian. These values are also Islamic and support and ‘Islamic’ identity.

“Unfortunately, you often hear adults who have been in Australia for 20, 30 or 40 years say that this is not their country. Because of this attitude they never plan to contribute to the future of this country, or the future of Islam and Muslims in this country.”

He concluded with this message to his audience:

Make this place your home, your country.
If you do then you will become functional and familiar at the local level.
You will become dynamically engaging, fostering stable indigenous Muslim identities and allowing Muslims to put down deep roots and make lasting contributions here.

Download the full speech by Dr Mohamad Abdalla

Source: Dr Mohamad Abdalla

Photo Credit: Dr Mohamad Abdalla