[The following is an excerpt from Understanding Muslim Identities: From Perceived Relative Exclusion to Inclusion by Samina Yasmeen (Centre for Muslim States and Societies , University of Western Australia), written in May 2008 and available as a pdf at]

Islam in Australia

Islam and Muslims are not new to Australia. The history of Muslim contacts with
Australia predates European settlement. Fishermen from Macasser regularly visited
Australia’s northern shores in December for four months to catch trepang. While self
sufficient and non-intrusive, the regular contacts left their mark on the language and
culture of the indigenous communities of the Arnhem Land and neighbouring areas.
These indigenous communities borrowed words from the Macassans’ vocabulary and
depicted their influence in their paintings. The first regular settlement of Muslims in
Australia, however, started in 1860 with the arrival of 3 camel-drivers from British India.
Over the next fifty years, their number exceeded 2,000. (more…)

Sydney art fuses surf with Islam

By Nick Bryant, BBC News, Sydney, December 6, 2008

An Australian artist has produced a range of Islamic surfboards in an attempt to create a greater understanding between East and West.

Phillip George was inspired by his trips to the Middle East and by riots in 2005 when Lebanese Australians were targeted on a beach in Sydney.

He has called the range the Inshallah – or God Willing – surfboards and has put them on exhibition in Sydney.

There are 30 surfboards in all, each adorned with intricate Islamic motifs. (more…)