Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a located in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the world’s smallest continent and has been inhabited for more than 42,000 years by Indigenous Australians.
Before the arrival of European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples inhabited most areas of the Australian continent. Each people spoke one or more of hundreds of separate languages, with lifestyles and cultural traditions that differed according to the region in which they lived. Their complex social systems and highly developed traditions reflect a deep connection with the land and environment.
In 1688, William Dampier became the first British explorer to land on the Australian coast. It was not until 1770 that another Englishman, Captain James Cook, aboard the Endeavour, extended a scientific voyage to the South Pacific in order to further chart the east coast of Australia and claim it for the British Crown.
Britain decided to use its new outpost as a penal colony; the First Fleet of 11 ships carried about 1500 people—half of them convicts. The fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour on 26 January 1788, and it is on this day every year that Australia Day is celebrated.
A nation is born
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a Federation, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed through the federation of six states under a single constitution. The non-Indigenous population at the time of Federation was 3.8 million. Half of these lived in cities, three-quarters were born in Australia, and the majorities were of English, Scottish or Irish descent. The capital city is Canberra, located in the self-governing Australian Capital Territory. The current national population is around 20.6 million people, and is concentrated mainly in the large coastal cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
Perth is the capital of Western Australia, which is the biggest state area-wise (2,525,500 km2) and has a beautiful coastline of 12,500 km. W.A. was founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829. Population of WA is 1.7million of which over 1.4 million live in the Perth metropolitan area.
The big variety of landscapes and climates in Western Australia means there is always plenty of sunshine, making it a perfect year-round destination. It is a land blessed with spectacular diversity where the deep reds of ancient interior rock formations contrast with the sparkling blue of the Indian and Southern Oceans and the lush greenery of the stunning southern regions.
Western Australia has the highest per capita output of any Australian state, with an economy that has been largely based on the extraction and export of mining and petroleum commodities, especially iron ore, alumina, natural gas, nickel and gold. Western Australia is a leading alumina extractor. It is also the world’s third-largest iron ore producer, Western Australia also extracts up to 75% of Australia’s gold.
Western Australia is famous for its long days of sunshine, spotless blue skies and brilliant beaches.
Religion mean to Australians
Religion is considered a private matter in Australia, and is not regarded as important to a person’s friendship circles or social standing. This is partly because Australia’s Constitution prevents any law to be based on religion, or inhibit the free practice of any religion – so Australian society and politics are not dominated by religion. It is also partly because Australia is a young country made up of migrants from all over the world – so Australians accept that a lot of their friends and colleagues will come from other cultures and that means they will have different religions, too.
Around 15 per cent of the population claim to have no religion at all. For these people, and most other Australians, the important thing is to live by a standard set of morals and values that apply to any positive human relationships.
“To be honest, I have found the majority of Australians do not discriminate against religions and are very accepting of the different faiths being practised in Australia.”
Muslims History in Western Australia
Australia has a multicultural society, established by migrants from all over the world. Today, Australian citizens come from more than 140 countries, during early European settlement, some Muslim sailors and prisoners came to Australia but very little is known about them as they left no traces behind, except for a few scattered references to their names. It was not until the 19th century that a more permanent Islamic presence was recognized.
During the 1870s, Muslim Malay divers were recruited through an agreement with the Dutch to work on Western Australian and Northern Territory pearling grounds. By 1875, there were 1800 Malay divers working in Western Australia. Most returned to their home countries.
Afghan cameleers settled in Australia from the 1860s onwards. Camels were imported and used by European explorers to help open up the dry interior and run the camel caravans which were introduced to deal with the logistical demands of Australia’s vast deserts. Due to the Afghans’ knowledge and expertise with camels, they were credited with saving the lives of numerous early European explorers and were vital for exploration. Hence the south-north railway is named The Ghan short for The Afghan.
The main basis for Australia’s modern day Muslim population came in the wake of World War Two. Between 1947 and 1971 the Muslim population in Australia increased from 2704 to 22311. This was largely due to the post World War Two economic boom, which created new labour opportunities. Many European Muslims, mainly Cypriot Turks, took advantage of these opportunities, to seek a new life and home in Australia.
Bosnian and Kosovan Muslim migrants, who arrived in Australia in the 1960’s, made important contributions to modern day Australia, through their role in the construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electricity Scheme in New South Wales. Lebanese migrants, many of whom were Muslims, also began arriving in larger numbers after the outbreak of the civil war in Lebanon in 1975. In the last three decades, many Muslims have migrated to Australia.
Australia’s diverse Muslim community is now concentrated predominantly in Sydney and Melbourne. Since the 1970’s, the Muslim community has developed many mosques and Islamic schools and made vibrant contributions to the multicultural fabric of Australian society. Islam in Australia is growing up fast. There is an appreciable conversion rate generally.
Islam is Australia’s second biggest religion; Muslims are estimated to be over 476,300. Govt. census 2011 shows up-to 25,000 Muslims in W.A. Most of these Muslims were arrived post war, particularly in 1960s and 1970s. The main ones are Malays, Arabs, Turks, Yugoslavs, Indians, Pakistanis, Afghans, South Africans, Somalians, Burmese and Bosnians.
In 1975/76, The Islamic Council of Western Australia was formed to co-ordinate the Islamic activity in the State. Islamic societies are generally affiliated with the ICWA. Each state has an Islamic Council which jointly forms the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) head office in Sydney.
Muslims like the followers of other faiths, enjoy full religious freedom in Australia. Dawa Jamat’s frequently visit Perth and other towns to call people back to basics. Women groups are fairly active and organize many useful programmes for families and children. Classes for the new Muslims are held at various places. The Holy Quran and other Islamic books are easily available in every Mosque. Halal meat/food and Muslim burial facilities are also available.
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
taken from: aussiemuslims