Australian Muslims Need Leadership

January 23, 2007

Author: Syed Atiq ul Hassan

Source: Online Opinion

In Australia, 1.5 per cent of total population is Muslim and Islam is the third most common religion after Christianity and Buddhism. Australian Muslims are a mixture of people from different ethnic backgrounds but are dominated by the Lebanese and Turkish.

In the last 30 years the religious leaders and imams have demonstrated a great deal of commitment and enthusiasm for the development of Mosques and Islamic centres. There are many Islamic societies, councils and a federation in Australia. However, the vision of these individual organisations has been limited to their own ethnic group or sect.

Even the mosques are distinguished by the ethnic background of the management of the mosque: like the Lebanese mosque, Turkish mosque, Pakistani mosque, Indonesian mosque, Bengali mosque, and so on, despite the fact each mosque has an official name.

It is quite understandable that, in Australia, as the Muslims came from different parts of the world they brought with them their own living-style, culture, social trends and political thoughts.

Nevertheless, this is not something extraordinary to the Muslim community alone; other communities do likewise. When the people of a particular community live in a multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious society their representatives have to be open-minded, diplomatic, tolerable, forbearing and communal. They must know how to live with others and how to respect the others’ culture, faith and thoughts.