Australian Christian-Muslim relations: A historical survey and a reflective evaluation

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In the era of post Christchurch attacks of 15 March 2019 and the Easter attacks on Sri Lanka on 21 April 2019, the importance and need for Christian Muslim dialogue resurfaced as the threat of far-right extremism as well as radical extremism re-emerged in Australia’s neighbouring countries. In the wake of the attacks, it was the reassuring messages of solidarity and peace from mutual faith leaders from the Muslim and Christian communities that reiterated a strong message for social harmony and unity and a unanimous condemnation of the terrorist attacks. Their united response was the outcome of years of Christian-Muslim dialogue initiatives that evolved over the decades since the second wave of Muslim migration to Australia.
The objective of this paper is to provide a historical survey of the Christian- Muslim relations in the post-WW II period, drawing upon the available archival data and oral histories of pioneers of interfaith dialogue in that period. It will also focus on the historical evaluation on the effectiveness of the dialogue projects and activities in the post September 11 Australia. In an attempt to provide insight through personal observation as well as a critical analysis of an ‘Australian’ Christian-Muslim relations, this paper will highlight the unique manifestation of this relationship in the continent. I hope to capture and reflect upon the history and development of Christian-Muslim dialogue in Australia. Through an evaluation of the Muslim migrant history and the limitations associated with being a new migrant community. I will reflect upon the internal barriers and challenges that stood in the path of dialogue for the young Muslim community in Australia. I will also assess the social and ideological realities of the wider Australian Christian Community that withheld the European Christian communities from engaging Muslims. The key focus of the paper will be an analysis of what I call the ‘boom’ period of Christian-Muslim dialogue which spiked after the 11th of September in 2001. What worked and what didn’t work and how dialogue contributed towards socio-political harmony beyond the religious sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Mission Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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