Sun 11 Jan 2009
[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 http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/.]
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…)