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Last updated on August 5th, 2017 at 04:03 pm
For Sydney’s Muslims, there have been six years of relentless bad press that started even before the seminal events of September 11, 2001.
Six years of bad press, eh? And why might that be?
The saturation coverage of the gang rapes by Sydney men of Middle Eastern heritage followed shortly afterwards by the waves of mostly Muslim asylum seekers “jumping the queue” preceded the terrorist attacks on September 11. The prosecution of the “war on terrorism”, the Cronulla riots and subsequent reprisals and the antics of Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly have all garnered acres of coverage.
While many of the issues merit reporting …
No, stop right there; let’s not turn this into a redneck hate fest. Besides, the SMH has further happy news:
Conversion among indigenous Australians is growing, driven by the higher visibility of Islam, a rejection of Christianity as a post-colonial religion, identification with Islamic principles, and conversions in prisons where Aborigines dominate the population.
I doubt that. So, it turns out, does the writer:
Their first contact with Islam sometimes, but not always, comes in jail, where as many as 22 per cent of inmates are indigenous Australians.
Twenty-two per cent is a dominant amount? Lancet must’ve done the math here.
Rocky Davis, known as Shaheed Malik, converted while serving 14 years for armed robberies and other offences. It was the story of Malcolm X, the gangster and black American nationalist leader who became a convert to Islam, that first inspired Davis.
“What does Islam stand for? Islam offers a faith untainted by colonialism and racism. It is a liberating religion,” says Davis. “Though the Bible said you shalt not kill, they killed, thou shall not rape, they raped our women, thou shalt not steal, they stole our land. Islam at its essence is pure. My forefathers had no army and no guns and lived in Aboriginal townships and camps. That’s the difference between the Muslim and Christian faiths: one is for the oppressed and one’s for the oppressor, one’s for the coloniser and one for the colonised.”
And one’s for armed robbers serving 14 years.
Peta Stephenson, a doctoral fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, says Islam doesn’t share the baggage of missionary Christianity, and has become one path by which Aborigines can affirm their pre-colonial identity.
“Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X are role models,” she says. “A lot of people see Islam as an answer to the ills of Western society. For communities suffering chronic levels of unemployment or underemployment and substance abuse it might have special appeal for those wanting to break away from the statistics.”
Andrew Bolt: “So to reject British colonialism and affirm a ‘pre-colonial identity’, Aborigines adopt a Middle Eastern faith with American role models. Er, OK. And to revolt against the statistics of unemployment, they take on the faith of that part of the world that suffers worst from poverty.”
Islam, says Stephenson, has proved a positive experience for males. “I’ve consistently found men who say they were once angry but having identified with Islam they come away with a sense of peace and a real need to do good in the community. Islam teaches you to be the best person you can.”
It’s sure working out for these guys.
(Via ann j)
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