IDENTIFICATIONS: BETWEEN NATIONALISTIC `CELLS' AND AN AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM UMMAH.
|Abstract:||This paper explores the dynamics which have characterised the Australian Muslim (a term which is examined more critically throughout this paper) struggle for identity and self-identification from the late nineteenth century to the present. It will consider the two primary mechanisms through which this struggle has been articulated. The first of these relates to the ways in which many Australian Muslims have used the nationalist, linguistic and cultural affiliations, which played a critical role in their process of migration and settlement, as a way of forging personal and communal `cells' of identification. The second explores the attempts made by Australian Muslims to draw this body of cells into a coherent whole structured around a religious framework, to create the ideal to which all Muslims aspire -- a unified Muslim community or ummah. One of the critical questions which the various discourses relating to Australian Muslim identity and culture raise, and which will be considered in this paper, is: on what levels does this struggle for identification operate, and to what extent has it been successful in reconciling a sense of an Australian Muslim past with the present and future?|
Group identity (Religious aspects)
|Publication:||Name: Australian Journal of Social Issues Publisher: Australian Council of Social Service Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Sociology and social work Copyright: COPYRIGHT 1999 Australian Council of Social Service ISSN: 0157-6321|
|Issue:||Date: Nov, 1999 Source Volume: 34 Source Issue: 4|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Name: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia|
Issues of Methodology
Contemporary perceptions of Australian Muslims fit into the well established pattern of the ethnic and cultural structuralisms which largely define migrant studies in Australia. Emphasis on the processes of immigration, the physical patterns of migrant settlement, the allegiances of migrants to the `homeland' left but not forgotten, and the behavioural patterns found between migrant groups and the `host' society, have set the framework for a pattern of research which has seen few shifts in approach, despite the significant transformations in identification which many migrant groups have undergone in the last few decades.
Some of the best examples of this dominant and largely `official' approach to migrant studies may be seen in the Australian Ethnic Heritage Series published in Melbourne in the 1980s, and which included titles like: The Maltese in Australia, The Afghans in Australia, The Italians in Australia, and The Americans in Australia. Presenting the stories of `pioneers', `settlers' and `personalities', almost all the studies in this series absorb intricate elements of culture, ethnicity, religion and social activity, into a structure which often overlooks the `internal' politics of identity exhibited in these manifold layers of identification. In some ways, this structure reflects on the nature of these studies which, apart from being short in length, often take the `profile' as a standard format for both presentation and methodology.
These types of studies might serve a purpose for an audience which may only be interested in getting a general idea of what a particular `group' of migrants is about. However, a certain degree of superficiality is bound to consume the more intense and sometimes volatile dynamics which often underlie the basic structures of a group of people who share social, linguistic, cultural and aesthetic forms of identification. Other studies which have sought to understand particular migrant groups from a specific angle like `religion', have also tended to adopt a basic structure largely preoccupied with `facts', demographics and physical contributions to `Australian society'.
Some of the most recent examples of this are the Religious Community Profiles put together through research conducted by the now defunct Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research in 1996. Covering a number of religious groups in Australia including the Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Anglicans, Catholics and Muslims, these profiles seek to document the structural dimensions of the respective faiths. This is clear in the forward of each of the studies which states that `Each publication includes a history of the religious community, its establishment in Australia, its faith and organisation and information on the community from the 1991 Census' (see Dixon, 1996). Although these brief studies are a good source of information on the above stated subjects, their attempt to explore for instance, the inter-communal, private/public, and cultural/religious dynamics which surround the critical parameters of `identity' discourses in Australia is limited.
In the case of studies looking at Australian Muslims, most have taken a largely empirical approach centred around the `Muslim migrant' experience. Characteristic of the understandings of Australian Muslims presented by researchers including Pulpick (1987), Bouma (1994), Omar and Allen (1996), are the isolationist `blocks' within which they operate. `Australian Muslims' and `mainstream Australians' are positioned along different sides of an imaginary border built upon a separation of two seemingly totalised `cultures'. Although there does not appear to be a complete lack of recognition of relations between Australian Muslims, and those between the various groups which make up Australian society and Muslims, the tendency has been to point to their existence without taking it much further.
One of the reasons why a dichotomised framework has, and continues, to be used by researchers in their studies of Australian Muslims can, in part, be attributed to the standard methodology used. Following the period of mass migration of Muslims to Australia in the 1970s, their increasing numbers (since 1971 Australia's Muslim population has increased sevenfold to about a quarter of a million) have given them a more noticeable presence in the census (Omar and Allen 1996). The diverse languages, birthplaces, names, occupations, and age distinctions which are reflected in the census have tended to provide studies with both their `facts' as well as their social and historical frameworks. These census reports are clearly an invaluable source of information for Australian Muslims as well as other groups which make up Australian society. However, like many other migrant groups, Australian Muslims have produced other sources of information like newspapers, journals and books which are equally valid and necessary to understanding the dimensions of their identity, and the ways in which they have chosen to articulate it. These sources are by no means uniform in their approach, and do not necessarily provide a standard discourse of identity. However, they do offer a critical insight into the ways in which Australian Muslims have drawn on the rhythms and juxtapositions of time, space, history and aesthetics, to formulate some sense of their identity and the discursive layers of meaning which surround it.
The Afghan Cameleers and the Politics of `Location'
Apart from Stevens' (1993) study of the Afghan cameleers, there has been very little research done on their place in Australian history. Their critical position in the broader development of a discourse surrounding a sense of an `Australian Muslim' identity since the late nineteenth century has also been neglected. Yet the ways in which these Afghans positioned themselves within Australian society and history, and the processes through which this positioning has been used by Muslims since, has played an active role in the formation of a sense of belonging for many Muslims.
That the Afghan cameleers made a conscious effort to negotiate a sense of place in Australia may be seen in what appears to be one of the oldest Australian Muslim histories, the book Islam in Australia. It was originally put together in 1905, then edited by Mohamed Hasan Musakhan (1932) following a donation to reprint the book by Mahomet Allum -- `The Wonder Man' -- in 1932. Beneath the quote from St. Peter, 1:12 -- `Remembrance' on the cover of the book, are the words `THE MOSQUES, CAMEL-MEN AND ISLAM', followed by the dedication, `To put you always in remembrance of the things done and work and services rendered by CAMEL-MEN to establish ISLAM IN AUSTRALIA: 1863-1932' (p. 65-6).(1) One of the most striking things about this book is the way in which members of `The Mohammedan Mosque Incorporated' committee chose to `document' the history of Islam, and their history, in Australia in the years between 1863 and 1932.
The deep personal, social, and communal rhythms of nationalist and religious illumination through which a visionary apprehension of unity and belonging are cast are easily detected as they flow through this book and, as will be seen later in this paper, in contemporary Australian Muslim discourses of identification. Although the committee in charge of building for `the Mohammedan community, resident in Western Australia' a `suitable place of Worship of their own' (p. 3) chose the universal title of `The Mohammedan Mosque Incorporated' for their committee, the emblematic divisions which marked this community are quite explicit. The assumptions often made by contemporary studies which present the `Afghan cameleers' as little more than a homogeneous group with a distinct sense of identification (see Cigler 1986) are graphically refuted in this work. The list of contributors included in the book is carefully divided along regional and ethnic lines, including: Durranie Afghans, Tareen Afghans, Pishorie Afghans, Punjabi Indians, and Bengali Indians. Even when only one contribution was made by a member of a particular `Afghani' region, as was the case with Kushki Yar, a Shinwari Afghan, the regional distinction was still included, as were those of non-Muslims, namely the contributions of `Hindoo and Sikh Indians' (Musakhan 1932, pp. 8-11).
Just as clear-cut as this `evidence' of `who' contributed to the building of the Mosque (one of the most critical physical manifestations of the idea of a universal Muslim ummah or community amongst Muslims), are the continual moments of interaction between Muslims and members of the broader society of which they are a part. The precision in which the monetary contributions are set out extends to the layout of various pieces of correspondence. In the first half of the book, these include an exchange of letters between the various committee members and their solicitors, the Commonwealth Bank with whom they had an account, and the Governor General in Melbourne to whom they sent a petition regarding `the preservation of certain Mohammedan Mosques and buildings in Australia' (pp. 46-50).
The latter part of the book which is dedicated to Mahomet Allum consists almost entirely of a series of letters thanking Mahomet for the various services he has offered the community in which he lived, both as a physician and herbalist. The inclusion of these letters is particularly significant. In one letter, F. Smith from Woodville West writes:
One of the most interesting of all the letters included comes from Rev. T. P. Willason of the Port Adelaide Central Methodist Mission, which begins:
These letters contain more than pure testimonial to a herbalist. It is no mere coincidence that all 48 letters included in the latter part of the book are written by Anglo-Australians, with not a single letter by a local Muslim included, despite evidence which clearly suggests that Allum's medicines were also popular among the local Muslim population (see Cigler 1986).
The precise division of the different `Afghan' groups, and the careful layout of particular examples of correspondence in this book have manifold implications. To begin with, the editor makes no attempt to hide the differences which exist among the Muslims of South and Western Australia in terms of regional and ethnic identification. Instead, these differences are enfolded in the wider discourse of `belonging' to the one land in which they live. Mahomet Allum is presented as the model citizen who through his `great faith in the Almighty's power' (Musakhan 1932, p. 96), is able to foster the ideal sense of belonging in what is presented as an egalitarian Australian society. From the symbolic returned soldier to the `brother man and sister woman' (p. 66), all affirm his contribution to Australian society and his place within it -- `A Friend of the People' (p. 92), as one correspondent put it.
There is more to these affirmations within the overriding theme of the book, however, as the attributes which are given to Allum are broadly used as a framework within which the Muslims of this period construct a sense of their identity. Although the diverse group of Muslims presented in this book are depicted as having a strong sense of identification with `Islam' as a faith, the small nationalistic `cells' of personal belonging with which they identify as immigrants, whether they be Punjabi Indians or Maykhel Afghans, are presented as forming part of a wider allegiance to the Australian `nation' (the greater body which unites these `cells'). This is seen most powerfully in a message written by the editor in 1927, and published under the title `A NEW EPOCH FOR AUSTRALIA', which states that the cameleers:
In this book, and in other remnants which the cameleers left in the form of Mosques and cemeteries, these Afghans appear to have shown a remarkable commitment to `Islam' as a faith and to Australia as a nation. Both `Islam' and `Australia' are seen as providing focal points of identification and unity for a diverse community who, though made up almost entirely of male immigrants, were struggling to find a place in a largely `white' Australia.
One would naturally assume these early Muslim settlers would have provided the ideal national-religious model of identification for the larger and more diverse groups of Muslims who migrated to Australia after 1960. However, as the second half of this paper will show, such an assumption would overlook the critical question of why the `tin Mosques' which the Afghans left, their scattered cemeteries and pieces of literature -- the way they chose to locate themselves within this new epoch of Australian history -- have come to occupy a problematic place in the struggles for identification of those Muslims who came after them. Why for instance, in much Australian Muslim literature of the mid to late twentieth century, does one find references to the `surviving remnants of the camel men' posited somewhere between living in the shadows of the great Afghan `pioneers', and the `Afghan Muslim' population which came to `fade away'?
Just as significant is the way in which these perceptions of the Afghan cameleers are accompanied by the dynamic and continuously evolving legacy of national/religious identification which they left. For instance, in an article appearing in the widely read Australian Muslim News, this sense of a uniform national-religious consciousness which the early Afghans attempted to create is seen in the following story of Izzat Khan:
Clearly, the image of a close relationship between these early settlers and members of the wider society around them, are subtly questioned in this story. The `white-skinned' Bosnian in this example brings to attention the sense of nationalistic and ethnic-based exclusion within which most Afghans lived. Even though `Afghans' were not completely isolated, as evidence of intermarriage between them and marginalised groups of women -- widows, deserted wives, or Aboriginal women -- shows (See Stevens 1993), their `alien' practices along with fear, prejudice, and later the `white Australia' policy and the Naturalisation Act of 1903 which denied citizenship to most non-Europeans, are believed to have placed them in a position of socio-religious isolation (Jones 1993, p. 63).
There is an interesting parallel between the way contemporary researchers have constructed Australian Muslims as a largely homogenous group in their studies, and the application of this same methodology by many Australian Muslims who have sought to construct a discourse which seeks to reinterpret the early `Afghan experience' through their own struggle for identification. This discourse is, however, problematised by the implications of the `faded' Afghan presence referred to earlier on the one hand, and the idea that these same Afghans were a `special breed' of Muslim pioneers who `fired by imagination and true to their religion' provided a `prelude to others who would follow after a long interlude' on the other (see Islamic Council of NSW: Profile 1994, 1994). The question which seems to hover over many articulations of this discourse, is if the early Afghan cameleers were so conscious of themselves as a separate group of `nationals', if they were so passionate about maintaining their Islamic culture, why have their descendants lost both a sense of their national and religious identities?
The following words taken from the Australian Federation of Islamic Council's (AFIC) President's report reflect on the attempts made to reconcile and understand this distant Australian Muslim past through the present:
However, at the same time the implications of this lapse in what many Australian Muslims like to perceive as the continuous presence of Islam in Australia presents them with the `question' of their own future in identifying themselves with this quasi-faded Afghan (and through them, `Muslim') past in Australia.
Thus what remains, and what will follow in the second half of this paper, is some consideration of the perimeters of the type of identity which has been able to reconcile a past which epitomises the uncritical drift into religious (Islamic) oblivion on the one hand, and the possibility of an `Australian Muslim' ummah on the other.
Between `Remembrance' and Relocation of an Australian Muslim Sense of Identification
In one sense, the `long interlude' between the period of the Afghan cameleers in the late nineteenth century, and the rapidly increasing Muslim population after 1970, has given the latter a `historical distance' which has been critical to their construction of a sense of place in Australia's past and present. On one level, the Afghans as `pioneers' provided the largely working class Muslim immigrants who came to satisfy Australia's labour needs after 1945, with the semblance of hope they needed at a time when securing good jobs and social mobility was difficult (Nebhan 1999). They inspired both a model socio-economic ethic, but also a `nationalistic' one -- they were `Muslims' who helped `Australia get off its feet' (ICNSW 1994). In many ways, the status of the `Afghan cameleer' bears a striking resemblance to the legendary Australian figure of the `bushman'. The down-to-earth and almost `natural' qualities which surround the bushman of the Australian outback, are not all that different from those which surround the `tough, successful men [cameleers], held by many Australians in great respect' (Imam 1983, p. 9). As legendary figures, the bushman and the cameleer belong to what is often presented as a `golden age' in the manifold pages of Australian memories and histories.
However, for Australian Muslims these memories and histories which have come to be associated with the `Afghan' are but a mere layer among many covering a population which consists of some 64 distinct ethnic groups (including Egyptians, Turks, Bosnians, Malaysians, Indians, and Syrians) speaking over 55 languages (including Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, and Urdu). Apart from their faith in Islam, there is little else which strongly links Australian Muslims today with the Afghan cameleers. The working class struggle and the lack of social mobility which it afforded can be found among many migrants who came to Australia. There is nothing distinctly `Muslim' about this experience. The tendency to form ethno-religious associations in Australia is also a characteristic of the process of migration. Italian Catholic clubs, Greek Orthodox associations and schools, Jewish organisations and Egyptian Muslim societies: all endeavour, in varying degrees, to secure some element of their cultural, linguistic and/or religious heritages in their new home.
Whilst the last of these, the religious heritage, was the most critical for Australian Muslims, what has emerged and what continues to be seen to some extent today, is the tendency to engulf ethno-Australian associations with religious consciousness. This reflects on two somewhat contradictory aims. The first of these concerns the attempts made by Muslim immigrants to distinguish themselves from others with whom they share an ethnic-identification but not faith. In an interview conducted with one of the founders of the Lebanese Muslim Association which was established in New South Wales in 1959, the sense of rivalry between Lebanese Christians and Muslims was given as the reason for which `Lebanese Muslim' was chosen as the definitive title of this association. He pointed out that just as Lebanese Christians had established themselves as an ethno-religious community in Australia, they too wanted to be identified as a distinct ethnic group, albeit with a Muslim identity (Nebhan 1999). Such an attempt to justify a sense of intra-national distinctiveness through religion is one which has woven the social fabric of the Muslim population in Australia. The influential Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), for instance, pulls the various nationalistic Muslim groups, or `cells', representing 55 ethno-religious associations and societies covering all the states, the territories and Christmas Island, as well as the majority of this Australian Muslim population, together into one organisational body. Despite the differences which exist between and within these ethnic-centred `cells', AFIC and other broad Muslim bodies like the Islamic Federation of Education and Welfare have attempted to bring to life an ideal to which the majority of Muslims aspire, the promise of an Australian Muslim Ummah.
However, to do this these larger bodies have had to justify what for many Muslims stands as the greatest of contradictions: the co-existence of a nationalistic sense of identification and `Islam' as a religion which, when practised by its adherents, draws allegiance to a personal and communal consciousness centred around an Islamic Ummah. Thus comments like `In today's world we see a lot of Muslimism and very little Islam' (Abdullah 1994, p. 17), and `there is nothing holy about tradition' (Sydney Morning Herald 17 April 1980) form part of a local genre of critical catch-phrases which satirise the possible co-existence of nationalistic and religious expressions of `faith'. This may be seen in an article titled `Beyond Muslim Nation States' (Jamal, 1990), in which the author expresses the profound impact which `Western' concepts of nationalism have had on Muslims. He quotes the verse `We have created you from a male and female, and made you into communities and tribes that you might identify one another', from the Holy Quran and juxtaposes it with the following appraisal:
Whilst rhetorical criticism of the ethno-nationalisms existing among Australian Muslims have achieved little, this concept of recognising `differences' only for the purpose of `identification' has captured many of their imaginations. The `full gamut of cultural, traditional and individual expressions of Islam' (Mustapha 1993, p. 18) which local publications and celebrations exhibit, reflects on an experiential synthesis of quasi-nationalistic and religious identifications -- an Australian Muslim multiculturalism within a larger Australian one.
One of the most interesting things about this synthesis is the framework which it has come to adopt. Whilst `recognition' of Islam as a faith is uniform, the various national `cells' which characterise the contemporary Australia Muslim population have provided borders of debate over language and culture which are difficult to cross. For instance, tensions over the naming of Mosques (seen as places of worship open to all Muslims) using ethnic labels, and giving sermons in a language which may only be understood by some attenders, are seen by many Australian Muslims and youth in particular, to create feelings of `exclusion'. Using a rather powerful image of desecration, one article published in the Australian Muslim News pointed out that a `small step towards establishing an Australian Ummah could be to erase the ethnic graffiti from our Mosques and rename them according to the area they are built in' (Samnakay 1999, p. 6).
What this article also raises is another question which is critical to this ethno-religious debate, that of reconciliation between a sense of identification with an `Australian' and `Muslim' identity, and ummah. Samnakay points out that there seems to be a `flow-on effect' of the Republican debate in Australia, `onto the Muslims to also strike an identity as Australian Muslims' (1999, p. 6). Although he recognises the problematic questions surrounding the definition of `Australian', his argument does reflect on the need for a common edifice through which an identity encompassing a sense of being `Australian' and `Muslim', as well as acknowledging cultural and linguistic distinctions, can take shape.
There are numerous examples which reflect on the relative success of this attempt to create an identity based on `Australian' and `Muslim' identifications. Local literature like the Pakistani Times and the Australian Muslim Times (a multilingual paper), published mainly in languages other than English, have been gradually eclipsed by journals like Insight and The Australian Minaret, magazines like Salam, and festivals like the Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair which have come to celebrate not only the diverse elements of the Australian Muslim population, but which have allowed for the possibility for this celebration to take place on a wide level, despite existing cultural and linguistic differences. The possibility of coexisting `nations within a national homeland' and an `Islam of which to be proud', and which can be `understood by their [Australian Muslims] friends and the Australian public' (Mustapha 1993, p. 18). What allows for this possibility is not only the `freedom of thought and action' which Australia as a `free society' provides, but Australia as a society which is itself diverse, and in which the `multicultural, multiracial, multilingual and multinational' Australian Muslim population can belong (Mustapha 1993, p. 18).
However, there are other physical markers, or perhaps `makers' (including youth, business professionals, and Islamic schools), which have allowed this sense of identification to emerge. The formation of the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth (est. 1967), the Muslim Women's National Network of Australia (est. 1980s) and the present existence of the Muslim Community Co-operative Australia (financial institution), the Australian Muslim News (which replaced the multilingual Australian Muslim Times as an all-English paper), schools like the Australian Islamic College in Western Australia, and the May 1992 exhibition An Australian Pilgrimage:from intolerance to multiculturalism? Muslims in Australia -- 1860s-1990s held at the Museum of Victoria, all reflect a sense of belonging for which an `Australian Muslim' sense of identification, rather than an essentially `ethnic' and or nationalistic one (like Lebanese Muslim or Turkish Muslim), is central.
Looking at the contemporary situation in which this identity has become a recurring referent in popular Australian Muslim discourses, it is clear that its physical socio-religious structures are not the only possible sites of interrogation. The tensions referred to earlier in the paper regarding the ambiguous historical positioning of the Afghan cameleers as `pioneers' and/or a generation whose `children lost their Islamic identity' (Hassan 1978, p. 17) because of intermarriage, and the failure to impart the necessary Islamic education, provide significant insight into the hidden logic of the various manifestations which this identity employs. The inclusive strength which allows such ambiguity to exist with little questioning rests largely in the ways in which this `identity' has drawn on the rhythms of complexity and difference which characterise not only the Afghan past, but Muslim migrant experiences and those of the Australian-born Muslim generations.
There are countless examples where one can see these rhythms at play, but perhaps the most visible of these are highlighted during local Islamic festivities. One example is the annual Australian Muslim Eid Festival and Fair (MEFF) held at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan in Sydney. In the report of MEFF of 1989, we see particular emphasis placed in the program on the `exchange of different ethnic backgrounds within the various communities', in order to pave `the way for unification of multicultural ideas in this country' (Siddiqui 1989, p. 10). Creating an exhibitive and socially-relaxed atmosphere with participants from state and regional ethno-religious institutions and non-ethnic based others, government representatives, and visitors from a broad range of backgrounds including non-Muslims, MEFF has attempted to help Australian Muslims `adopt and thrive' not only as a unified Muslim community, but also as an Australian one. The relative success and broad appeal of the initiative may be seen in the increase of participants from 800 in 1987 to over 30 000 in 1998. As one of the founders of MEFF pointed put, it is an attempt to `celebrate the festival in the spirit of Australian Multiculturalism' (Ahmad 1995, p. 20).
In almost all Australian Muslim discourses, one is confronted with the interpretation of such socio-religious events, at least in part, as matters of an all-encompassing national(`Australian')-religious(`Muslim') identity. The question thus raised is: has this `Australian Muslim' identity been adopted because it is able to use often contradictory histories and identifications, terms like `exchange', `diversity', `Muslim ummah' and the various `multiisms', precisely because the implications of the words `Australian' and `Muslim' are themselves highly complex and often debated? Do the words `Australian' and `Muslim' (and the various interpretations which surround them) aid the processes of socio-cultural invention, and provide a space through which `nationalistic' and `religious' identifications can converge?
Although there is no simple answer to this question, it may be that as a result of the ever-changing local Muslim population (for instance, the increasing demographic prominence of Australian born and bred Muslims and the growing number of converts to Islam), and the just as complex `Australian' society of which it is part, Australian Muslims have had no choice but to adopt an identity that can work through often ambiguous emblems and analogies, and which is not inhibited by narrowly defined national and socio-cultural forms of expression. For Australian Muslims it may be in the fluid, rather than in the security of the `defined', that a sense of belonging can be attained. The alternative is perhaps one which resonates with the pedagogic messages of the Muslim past in this country. As one article in the journal Insight expressed it, if identification among Australian Muslims does not retain an element: of flexibility, `then we may as well become the "past camel traders of the future'" (Hussain 1987, p. 14).
I would like to thank Richard White from the History Department at The University of Sydney for reading and commenting on the original draft of this paper. I also wish to extend my appreciation to Glenda Sluga for the invaluable advice and encouragement.
(1.) The author is working on a forthcoming article which will offer a closer examination of this book and its historical significance.
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Sydney Morning Herald (1980) Letter to the Editor 17 April.
Katy Nebhan, Department of History, The University of Sydney. e-mail: email@example.com
Just a few lines to thank you and let the public at large know the wonderful miracle, you have done for me. Being a returned soldier, I was badly gassed, etc.... I would have been dead and buried only for your wonderful herbal treatment. I can honestly say you saved my life and cured my cruel sufferings (p. 89).
Although we both worship `The Nameless One of a Thousand Names' in a different way, you in the sacred stillness of the Mosque, and I in the Church with its music and song, yet we are brothers in the truest sense. First, as God's creatures ... Secondly, as lovers of humanity without concern as to their color, creed or country (p. 96).
Humbly join the Australian people in the expression of their duty and loyalty to the Crown and person of their most gracious Sovereign, and in the offer of a warm welcome to the present Royal Visitors (p. 51).
At that time [in the aftermath of World War II] one of the last of the Afghans, Izzat Khan, then in his. eighties or nineties was residing in an annex of the [Adelaide] Mosque, protecting the holiness of the building from anything or anyone un-Islamic. It is said that he at first refused to permit the Bosnians to enter since he had never seen nor heard of a white-skinned Muslim (Peera 1996, p. 9).
In Alice Springs, the president met descendants of the original Afghan Muslims. Now part of the Aboriginal community, they still give Muslim names to their children on birth certificates and many are returning to Islam or are interested in receiving more information about Islam (Ahmad 1998, p.2)
Sadly what Islam says is not practiced in the Muslim Countries. Nationalism has only served to shatter the ideational unity of Islam into pieces ... Islam is neither Nationalism nor Imperialism but a globalism -- unification of nations which recognise artificial boundaries and racial distinction for reference and not for restricting the sociopolitical horizons of its members. The local or national group sentiment must be subservient to a broader Islamic identification and commitment (p. 11).
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