Globalised Islam: Does this concept have any impact on Australian Muslim youth?
Australia’s leading newspaper, The Australian (29/10/2007:1-2) reported that a Sydney Muslim leader, Fadi Rahman, warned that there could be a possible terror strike or a “London-type bombing” in Australia. This was because some Muslims did not trust the Australian Federal Police since they had bungled a terrorist case against the Gold Coast, Queensland, doctor Mohammad Haneef. On 2 July 2007 the Indian-born physician, Mohammad Haneef, was arrested and held in detention without charges and without the right to seek bail for two weeks. Haneef was alleged to have had a terrorist link with his cousin Kafeel Ahmed who had attempted to blow up the Glasgow airport in the United Kingdom. The Lebanese-born Fadi Rahman ran a youth centre in south-west Sydney which was attended by 460 members (mostly of Lebanese background) aged 10-35, and some of them were “at risk”, and former criminals. So did the threat of a “London-style bombing” come from a small section of Muslims or was it widespread throughout the community? Did the concept of a globalised Islam pose an imaginary or a real threat? Or was it just an umma (Islamic community) feeling for fellow Muslims? In this paper, I will examine the interviews of 44 Muslim students in Melbourne that I conducted during the period of the Haneef ordeal (July 2007). I will explore the question whether in spite of their cultural diversity they felt connected to the Haneef case, or if they have related something else to their identity. I will also identify the factors that could possibly establish fellow feeling among Muslim youths of diverse backgrounds. Finally, I will question why the participants of this study were peaceful, and just wanted to have a voice through my work. This paper mainly relies on oral testimonies.
Keywords: Youth, Identity, Globalisation, Islam, Media, Security
Dr. Nahid Afrose Kabir
Research Fellow, School of Communications and Arts, Edith Cowan University
Contemporary Arts at the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. Dr
Kabir is the author of Muslims in Australia: Immigration, Race Relations and
Cultural History (London: Kegan Paul, 2005). Dr Kabir's research interests
include Australian immigration, race relations and cultural history, media and
society, youth and society, women in Islam, and Islam and politics. Nahid Kabir
was born in Bangladesh but has spent many years in the United States, the Middle
East, Pakistan and Australia. This broad cultural and international exposure is
assisting her in her research. Dr Kabir has published widely in her area of