Voices Shaping the

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Voices Shaping the

Perspectives of Young

Muslim Australians
Professor Jock Collins, Professor Andrew Jakubowicz, Wafa Chafic, Dr Kais Al‐momani, Jamila Hussain, Associate Professor Devleena Ghosh, Dr David Cole, Professor Alastair Pennycook

Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre University of Technology, Sydney May 2011


The research team wishes to thank the numerous people who have participated in this project, and all those who worked to facilitate it. This project was carried out in three states, focusing on young Muslim Australians in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin.
As such there were numerous one‐to‐one interviews and group consultations in each city, with young Muslim Australians, as well as with people who work with them. We also coordinated a large community consultation day in Campsie for this and the other National Action Plan research projects concurrently running in Sydney. Here we acknowledge the assistance of the Community Relations Commission, the Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre and the management of the Orion Function Centre in Campsie.
In Sydney, the team is indebted to the Australian Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair Consortium, the UTS Muslim Students Volunteer Team, the UTS Equity & Diversity Unit, and UTS Marketing & Communication Unit, who helped make the Eid Festival Research day highly successful. We would also like to thank the Muslim school that participated in this research, and Peter Gould from Azaan Inspired Graphics who did the artwork on the post card for the project.
In Melbourne, we would like to thank the Islamic Council of Victoria, the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria, and the team at R.I.S.E (Refugees, Survivors and Ex‐Detainees) for their assistance.
In Darwin the Multicultural Council of Northern Territory, Multicultural Youth NT, NT Youth Affairs Network, the Palmerston and Rural Youth Services Network, the Islamic Society of Darwin, the staff at the Melaleuca Refugee Centre, and the Somali community, were very generous in their support of this project, guiding us through unfamiliar terrain.
We wish to thank Anna Hassett and Matthew Jones from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for their constructive input into this project. We would also like to acknowledge the valuable input of Catherine Yu Zhao for analyzing the statistical material generated from the project and Shuman Partoredjo for reading various drafts of this report.
Most importantly this research would not have been possible without the many inspiring young

Muslim Australians who so willingly and in good faith, gave of their time and of themselves.

This report was compiled by Wafa Chafic, Dr. Kais Al‐Momani and Professors Jock Collins and

Andrew Jakubowicz.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 1
Executive Summary 4

Key findings 5

Programs and projects for young Muslim Australians 6

Recommendations 8
1. Introduction 9
2. Literature Review 11
3. Methodology 23

Social Ecology Framework 23

Quantitative Research 27

Qualitative Research 28

Sydney Consultations 28

Melbourne Consultations 29

Darwin Consultations 29
4. Quantitative Analysis 30

Characteristics of the sample 30

Religious observance 40

Life in Australia 50

Social networks with non Muslim friends 55

Experience of discrimination 58

Cyber media 61

Sources od advice and people who impress 65
5. Qualitative Analysis 75

Identity Development 76

Social networks of bonding and bridging 78

Aspiration and inspiration 82

Safety, Belonging and Displacement 86

Racism, prejudice and discrimination 90

Media and representation 94

Sustaining youth programs 98
6. Conclusions 103

Mapping Social Ecology 103

Voices of Influence 104

Best practice models 106
7. Recommendations 108

A final note 119
8. Bibliography 120
Appendix A 126

Selected Australian & International programs with Muslim Youth 126
Australia 127
United States 144
United Kingdom 157
France 178

New Zealand 191
Appendix B 192

Questionnaire 192

Executive Summary

This is the final report on the research project the ‘Voices Shaping the Perspectives of Young Muslim Australians Today’ to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). The aims of this research project are: 1) to provide a social ecology of the voices that inspire young Muslims, the voices they hear including their own, their peers’ and the official voices of the society and government; 2) to review the relevant literature in Australia and comparable nations; 3) to identify the plurality of voices of influence and the various ways in which young Muslim Australians mobilize religious and political symbols, and language around cultural, social and political issues; 4) to identify the relevant sources and voices of influence important for shaping the experience, attitudes, beliefs and opinions of young Muslims in Australia; and 5) to provide an assessment of current practical measures which support and facilitate voices and to identify consistent gaps in government, non‐government and individual approaches in this regard. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s expressed aim for commissioning this research is to identify and support young people in general and where appropriate.

An inter‐disciplinary research team from the UTS Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre conducted the research. The research project took a ‘social ecology’ approach whereby the point of departure was that the lives and experiences of young Muslim Australians were embedded in their social, cultural, political, theological and ideological environments. In social ecology, these relationships are understood as multi‐directional and constantly evolving.
The research report reviews the relevant national and international literature and provides the results of quantitative research in Sydney and qualitative research in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin involving young Muslim Australians and key stakeholders from Australia’s Muslim communities and other relevant institutions and organizations.
The quantitative research involved a survey of young male and female Muslim Australians conducted at the Muslim Eid Festival and Fair in Sydney. The qualitative research took the form of: focus groups of young Australians from Middle Eastern (Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, Turkish), South Asian (Pakistani and Indian) and African (Somali, Nigerian, Togo, Ethiopian) backgrounds; focus groups of key stakeholders from Muslim communities and service providers who work with them; in‐depth interviews of Muslim Australians and key stakeholders; and case studies where a few selected young Muslim Australians took part in repeat, in‐depth interviews.

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