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Australia Documentary Defends Islam

Published: 01/06/2014 03:47:39 PM GMT
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SYDNEY – A new eye-opening documentary film that shows the true nature of Islam has been approved to be shown to high school students in South Australia, in a step forward towards fighting discrimination against the religious minority. “For a younger generation who haven't necessarily always gone to  schools and which they are learn...(more)

SYDNEY – A new eye-opening documentary film that shows the true nature of Islam has been approved to be shown to high school students in South Australia, in a step forward towards fighting discrimination against the religious minority.

“For a younger generation who haven't necessarily always gone to  schools and which they are learning to live and lead deal with people of different background, it's easy for them to apply a particular kind of prejudices,” Professor AbdouMaliq Simone, University of South Australia director of the International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding, told ABC on Saturday, May 31.

“These young people have inherited certain kinds of notions about what faith is, about what the right way to do things are.”

Produced by the University of South Australia, the short documentary explores identity, prejudice and stereotyping faced by young Muslims in Australia.

The 20-minute film features young Muslims who describe their experiences, shedding light on the harassment, abuse and struggle of Muslims in the western country.

The short film also aims to “give students a sense of the ordinary among others who seem different to them,” according to Professor Simone.

Seeking an effective outreach, the short film will be shown in all secondary schools in South Australia.

The documentary was hailed by South Australia schools’ principals who deemed it very “convenient” for the students.

“It was age appropriate, sensitively done, and there was a lovely authenticity about the case studies,” said Pam Ronan, the principal of the Christian school St Francis de Sales College in the Adelaide Hills that will show the short film.

Showing the film to her year 10, 11 and 12 students at a time, Ronan hopes to raise awareness of Muslims' contributions in the Australian society among students.

In their Words

The documentary offered a window to many Australian Muslims to share their own experiences of facing discrimination.

“When there's a war abroad, or when a suicide bomber happens, and everybody knows you're Muslim or Arab, you're confronted for some unknown reason with the responsibility to either explain your distance to what happened or your familiarity with why it happened,” Yassir Morsi, one of the four young Muslims who feature in the film, said.

“In that sense I think that's when Australia's unfortunate racism comes to the fore.”

Morsi added that he hopes that the documentary would raise reasonable questions surrounding his faith, challenging the dominating negative image.

“For instance, what it may mean to be a minority in Australia, what it may mean to constantly be observed or possibly, is it really as big a problem as they make it out to be?” he said.

Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.

Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.

In January, The first group of Muslim students have completed masters in Islamic studies from Australia’s Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilization of Charles Sturt University.

Yet, Australian far-rights have escalated their hate campaigns against the Muslim community recently.

Last week, a Queensland Christian college fired two Muslim student teachers for wearing hijab.

The incident has sparked angry Muslim reactions who said they were “disappointed” by the discriminatory decision.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here

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