Friday 2 June 2023 \


Muslims You Haven’t Heard of: These Australian Aboriginals Became Muslim as a Way to Heal their Psychological Pain

To many of us, the long history of Australian Aboriginals with Islamic culture and religion is still very unknown. The Indigenous, better known as the Aboriginal community, in Australia have traded, intermarried and socialized with Muslim communities for over 300 years. Fishermen from Makassar in the southern Celebes (now Indonesia) have been traveling to north and northwest Australia since the early 1700s, looking for sea slugs. Over time, besides the trade, a religious legacy was left.

More than a political gesture, a way to repair psychological scars

One research, conducted by Peta Stephenson, shows that there is a wide range of similar traditions and norms between the Indigenous communities and Islam.  For example, the attitude within Islam towards the environment, resembles that of Australian Aboriginals. The Qur’an states that you shouldn’t waste what you don’t need. Australian Aboriginals have the same way of thinking, where water and food are seen as precious.

Besides that, Aboriginals stated they were attracted to Islam, as a way to heal from the psychological pain they had endured because of (post)colonialism. To them, different missionaries imposed a kind of mono-culturalism upon them, that was a ‘white’ idealism. Aboriginal men were seen as ‘angry black men’ and to be civilized, one had to convert to a new faith and adapt to the norms of the white colonizers. Meanwhile, they say, Islam acknowledges that men are created in ‘different nations and tribes’ and that all humans are equal. This emphasis on both diversity and, at the same time, unity, attracts many people who live in a country with a colonized history.

It is expected that the conversion to Islam amongst the Indigenous community will keep growing, as the religion meets both their spiritual and social needs.




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