Remembering Muslim Histories of Australia
UNTIL QUITE RECENTLY the history of Muslims in Australia somehow sailed below the wind of popular attention as faintly-remembered historical marginalia. When I conducted fieldwork in north Australia between 1986 and 1996, I discovered a palpable sense of engagement among the indigenous people I came into contact with, about their mixed histories with Asian, Pacific and Muslim people. Similarly, Muslim organisations in Australia had started to narrate the histories of Afghans in Australia, and anthropologist and archaeologists had engaged with the history of Macassan seafarers. In other words, there were pockets of awareness of histories of 'Afghans', 'Macassans', and 'Malays' in Australia (none of these are strictly ethnic appellations), but it took a War on Terror to redefine all of them by the religion they held in common, and to turn them into the interesting historical subjects that they have now become.
La Trobe Journal
Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)