With a predominantly Islamic population, Indonesia’s Muslims see their faith reflected at every turn: in media, in government policy, in education, even in fashion and food. But next door in Australia things are very different.
With little more than 1 percent of its population Islamic, there is little or no reflection of Australian Muslim society, except when something goes wrong. And that lack of positive societal recognition for one particular religious group is causing social ostracism for many Australian Muslims, particularly in these years following Sept. 11, 2001.
The fallout from that disaster half a world away has shaken Australia’s multicultural foundations, with ordinary Australian Muslims made social pariahs, as Chinese-Indonesians were denied Indonesian citizenship rights until recently, and as many Australian Aborigines are given unequal treatment simply for being black.