Young Australian Muslims are increasingly turning to the internet to understand Islam, where they are often feed inaccurate or unreliable information, according to the Board of Imams Victoria. To combat that, and attempt to delegitimise extremist views propagated online, the board has helped launch a 12-page manual.
Australian Imams and scholars have launched a manual aiming to debunk misconceptions associated with Islam.
“A lot of youth, when they want to understand something about Islam, the easiest way to get that information is to jump online,” Imam Bekim Hasani told SBS News.
“But sometimes the information that they get, they get from people who we know nothing about and we do not know if they are qualified to give that information.”
An Introductory Resource Manual: Islam and Living in Australia was developed with the support of the Australian Multicultural Foundation (AMF).
“It is not only important to break down barriers and misconceptions, but also for young Australian Muslims to gain better understanding on the teachings of Islam from a scholarly source, rather than an unknown and unreliable internet source,” AMF Executive Director Hass Dellal said.
Mr Hasani said the resource aims to provide a tailored interpretation of what it means to be Muslim in modern-day Australia.
“There are certain principals of Islam that actually change with time and place,” he said.
“The best way to interpret Islam in Australia is from the Imams that live here with our community and respect the tradition and the law of the land.
“What we ask of people here is to follow the culture where they come from – since we embraced Australia to be our home, and our children are born and raised here, it is important for us to follow this lifestyle as much as Islam allows.”
Mr Hasani said the resource is aimed at reaching both Muslims and non-Muslims.
“A lot of people, without knowing the true meaning of Islam, they put us all in the same basket,” he said.
“So when they have something online where they can actually learn, the true meaning of these topics and the true meaning of Islam, it will be easier for them to understand where we are coming from.
“Islam has nothing to do with violence. We religious leaders and Islam in general are against any form of violence.”
The manual has also been designed for media organisations to assist in appropriate reporting on the Islamic community and its beliefs.