Identifications: Between nationalistic 'cells' and an Australian Muslim ummah

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Abstract

This paper explores the dynamics which have characterised the Australian Muslim (a term which is examined more critically throughout this paper) struggle for identity and self-identification from the late nineteenth century to the present. It will consider the two primary mechanisms through which this struggle has been articulated. The first of these relates to the ways in which many Australian Muslims have used the nationalist, linguistic and cultural affiliations, which played a critical role in their process of migration and settlement, as a way of forging personal and communal 'cells' of identification. The second explores the attempts made by Australian Muslims to draw this body of cells into a coherent whole structured around a religious framework, to create the ideal to which all Muslims aspire - a unified Muslim community or ummah. One of the critical questions which the various discourses relating to Australian Muslim identity and culture raise, and which will be considered in this paper, is: on what levels does this struggle for identification operate, and to what extent has it been successful in reconciling a sense of an Australian Muslim past with the present and future?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-385
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999

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