Special Issue "Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Halim Rane
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
Interests: Islam; Islamic studies; Islam-West relations; sociology of religion; contemporary Islamic thought; religious and ideological extremism; Muslim communities in the West

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The growth of Muslim populations globally, in the Asia–Pacific region, and in Australia means Islamic and Muslim studies in Australia are increasingly important. Over the past two decades, Islamic and Muslim studies in Australia have grown along with some notable contributions to the scholarly literature, including the Melbourne University Press Islamic Studies Series. However, research on Islam and Muslims in Australia tends to receive less attention than in other Western countries. This Special Issue will contribute to filling this gap.
 
The aim of this Special Issue is to showcase some of the most important research currently being undertaken in Islamic and Muslim studies in Australia. The papers will address the challenging and often unprecedented phenomena concerning Islam and Muslim Australians that have developed particularly since the turn of the century. Scholars in the fields of Islamic and Muslim studies are invited to submit papers on Islamic religious thought and practice; Islamic groupings and organisations; migration, settlement and integration; citizenship and belonging; social cohesion and intercommunity relations; Islamophobia, radicalisation and extremism; national and community security; and other issues concerning the historic and contemporary conditions, experiences and representations of Islam and Muslims in Australia.

Dr. Halim Rane
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Islamic thought
  • Islamic practice
  • Islamic groupings
  • Muslim organisations
  • migration
  • settlement
  • integration
  • citizenship
  • belonging
  • social cohesion
  • intercommunity relations
  • Islamophobia
  • radicalisation
  • extremism
  • national security
  • community security

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Religion, Belonging, and Active Citizenship: A Systematic Review of Literature on Muslim Youth in Australia
Religions 2021, 12(4), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040237 - 26 Mar 2021
Viewed by 352
Abstract
Muslim youth have been under scrutiny over the last two decades from a radicalisation and countering violent extremism lens. This bias has largely carried itself to research conducted on Muslim youth in the West. This article undertakes a systematic review and analysis of [...] Read more.
Muslim youth have been under scrutiny over the last two decades from a radicalisation and countering violent extremism lens. This bias has largely carried itself to research conducted on Muslim youth in the West. This article undertakes a systematic review and analysis of literature conducted on Muslim youth in the West and in Australia in the last two decades since 11 September 2001. The body of literature in this field can be grouped under three main themes: (1) the impact of terrorism policies and discourse on Muslim youth and their disengaged identities, (2) the relationship between religion (Islam) and civic engagement of Muslim youth, and (3) Muslim youth as active citizens. An important conclusion of this review is that most of the research is dated. There have been significant changes in the development of youth as they quickly evolve and adapt. The systematic review of literature exposed a number of gaps in the research: the current literature ignores generic adolescent factors and external social factors other than Islam that also influence Muslim youth; studies that examine both online and traditional activism and volunteering space are needed to understand the dynamics of change and shift; research needs to focus on Muslim youth who were born and raised in Australia rather than focus only on migrant youth; the ways some Muslim youth use their unique sense of identity as Australian Muslims to become successful citizens engaged in positive action is not known; how Muslim youth use avenues other than their faith to express themselves in civic engagement and their commitment to society is underexplored; it is not known the degree to which bonding networks influence the identity formation and transformation of Muslim youth; there is no research done to examine how adult–youth partnership is managed in organisations that successfully integrate youth in their leadership; there is a need to include Australian Muslim youth individual accounts of their active citizenship; there is a need to understand the process of positive Muslim youth transformations as a complement to the current focus on the radicalisation process. Addressing these gaps will allow a more complete understanding of Muslim youth in the West and inform educational and social policies in a more effective manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia)
Open AccessArticle
Islamic Studies in Australia’s Universities
Religions 2021, 12(2), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020099 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 737
Abstract
Islamic studies is an in-demand discipline area in Australia, including both classical Islamic studies and contemporary Islamic studies. While the field of classical Islamic studies has evolved over the centuries alongside the needs of the societies it serves, it has, nevertheless, remained within [...] Read more.
Islamic studies is an in-demand discipline area in Australia, including both classical Islamic studies and contemporary Islamic studies. While the field of classical Islamic studies has evolved over the centuries alongside the needs of the societies it serves, it has, nevertheless, remained within a well-established Islamic framework. This type of knowledge is sought by many, especially Muslims. Contemporary Islamic studies also plays a critical role in understanding Islam and Muslims in the contemporary context. The higher education sector in Australia contributes to this knowledge base via the Islamic studies courses it offers. This article discusses the positioning of the higher education sector in fulfilling Islamic educational needs, especially in the presence of other non-accredited education institutions such as mosques and madrasas. Despite the presence of other educational institutions, the higher educational sector appeals to a large pool of students, as evidenced by the number of Islamic studies courses offered by fourteen Australian universities. The teaching of classical Islamic studies in the higher education sector is not without its challenges. These challenges can be overcome and have been overcome to a large degree by the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC), Charles Sturt University (CSU). CISAC was used as a case study, as it is the largest Islamic studies department offering the greatest number of classical Islamic studies focused courses with the highest number of Islamic studies students in Australia. This article, overall, demonstrates that there is an ongoing need for Islamic studies to be taught, both in a classical and contemporary capacity, in the higher education sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia)
Open AccessArticle
Negotiating Gendered Religious Space: Australian Muslim Women and the Mosque
Religions 2020, 11(12), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11120686 - 21 Dec 2020
Viewed by 666
Abstract
Women’s presence and role in contemporary mosques in Western countries is contested within and outside Muslim communities, but research on this topic is limited and only a few studies consider women’s roles inside mosques in Australia. There is a complex intersection of gender [...] Read more.
Women’s presence and role in contemporary mosques in Western countries is contested within and outside Muslim communities, but research on this topic is limited and only a few studies consider women’s roles inside mosques in Australia. There is a complex intersection of gender and religion in public sacred spaces in all religious communities, including Muslim communities. Women’s role in these spaces has often been restricted. They are largely invisible in both public sacred spaces and in public rituals such as congregational prayers. Applying a feminist lens to religion and gender, this article explores how a mosque as a socially constructed space can both enable and restrict Australian Muslim women’s religious identity, participation, belonging and activism. Based on written online qualitative interviews with twenty Muslim women members of three Australian Muslim online Facebook groups, this article analyses the women’s experiences with their local mosques as well as their views on gender segregation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia)
Open AccessArticle
Afghan-Hazara Migration and Relocation in a Globalised Australia
Religions 2020, 11(12), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11120670 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 663
Abstract
This study examines a set of unique isolated lived-experiences to offer some general observations concerning Afghan-Hazara migration, relocation, and individuation in Australia. Culture may have the appearance of immutability. However, like any social formation, it is produced, reproduced, and contested through time. Everyone [...] Read more.
This study examines a set of unique isolated lived-experiences to offer some general observations concerning Afghan-Hazara migration, relocation, and individuation in Australia. Culture may have the appearance of immutability. However, like any social formation, it is produced, reproduced, and contested through time. Everyone is an individual, and while we speak of the impact and culture, lived-experience is very different. People always have choices they can make about what lessons they might derive from experiences. If one faces discrimination within the realm of the state, which is historically well documented where Hazaras are concerned, one begins looking for alternative pathways to advancement. These include personalised networks in religious communities, education, and business entrepreneurship. The study analyses the fluid nature of belief systems, and the multiplicity of ways lived-experience shapes individuation and reshapes identity through pathways to advancement in a globalising Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
On the Discursive and Methodological Categorisation of Islam and Muslims in the West: Ontological and Epistemological Considerations
Religions 2020, 11(10), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100501 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 547
Abstract
This article reflects on the ethical and epistemological challenges facing researchers engaged in contemporary studies of Islam and Muslims in the West. Particularly, it focuses on the impact of the constructions and categorisations of Muslims and Islam in research. To do this, it [...] Read more.
This article reflects on the ethical and epistemological challenges facing researchers engaged in contemporary studies of Islam and Muslims in the West. Particularly, it focuses on the impact of the constructions and categorisations of Muslims and Islam in research. To do this, it considers the entwinement of public discourses and the development of research agendas and projects. To examine this complex and enmeshed process, this article explores ideological, discursive and epistemological approaches that it argues researchers need to consider. In invoking these three approaches alongside an analysis of a collection of recent research, this article contends that questions of race, religion and politics have been deployed to reinforce, rather than challenge, certain essentialist/orientalist representations of Islam and Muslims in the West in research. As this article shows, this practice is increasingly threatening to compromise, in a Habermasian communicative sense (i.e., the opportunity to speak and be heard for all concerned), the ethical and epistemological underpinnings of social science research with its emphasis on inclusion and respect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia)
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Open AccessArticle
Muslim Community Organizations’ Perceptions of Islamophobia: Towards an Informed Countering Response
Religions 2020, 11(10), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100485 - 24 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1040
Abstract
During the past two decades, Muslim Community Organizations (MCOs) in the West have increasingly become stakeholders in the public debates and the national consultations regarding the Muslim communities. MCO’s perception of Islamophobia is critical for understanding their collective response to the problem. Much [...] Read more.
During the past two decades, Muslim Community Organizations (MCOs) in the West have increasingly become stakeholders in the public debates and the national consultations regarding the Muslim communities. MCO’s perception of Islamophobia is critical for understanding their collective response to the problem. Much of the Australian literature, nonetheless, tends to subsume Islamophobia within the dynamics of exclusion/inclusion within a social cohesion paradigm, and primarily through a focus on individuals. This article aims to contribute to the existing literature through a deeper contextual understanding of Australian MCOs’ framing of and engagement with Islamophobia in its various manifestations, in order to better cognize its impact on their agentic capacity. Deploying an expanded theoretical framework of agency structure, this article analyzes 25 interviews with representatives of Victorian MCOs, to explore their perceptions of Islamophobia across multiple domains of power—the social, discursive and the political. MCOs’ perceptions of the problem impact their responding anti-Islamophobia civic–political engagements towards soft grassroots connections and Muslims’ empowerment. In light of the findings, the article points for the need to enhance building inter-community solidarity, utilize supportive institutional multicultural schemes and establish a separate Muslim advocacy organization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia)
Open AccessArticle
Islam in Australia: A National Survey of Muslim Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents
Religions 2020, 11(8), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080419 - 14 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3915
Abstract
This article presents the findings of a national survey on Islam in Australia based on responses of 1034 Muslim Australian citizens and permanent residents. Knowing what Muslim Australians think about Islam in relation to Australian society is essential for a more informed understanding [...] Read more.
This article presents the findings of a national survey on Islam in Australia based on responses of 1034 Muslim Australian citizens and permanent residents. Knowing what Muslim Australians think about Islam in relation to Australian society is essential for a more informed understanding about Islam and Muslims needed to address misinformation, Islamophobia, and extremism. The findings presented in this article include typologies of Muslims; sources of influence concerning Islam; interpretations of the Qur’an; perspectives on ethical, social, and theological issues; issues of concern; social connections and sense of belonging; views on various Muslim-majority countries; and perspectives concerning political Islam, including jihad, caliphate, and shariah. While respondents’ understandings, interpretations, and expressions of Islam overall align with values and principles of equality, human rights, social cohesion, and social justice, a minority were found to understand and interpret Islam in ways that reflect the influence of late 20th and early 21st century ideas associated with Islamist political ideology, and a smaller sub-group were found to have views that could be considered extreme. This article discusses these findings in relation to the early 21st century time-period factors and the Australian social context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia)
Open AccessArticle
The New Muslim Ethical Elite: “Silent Revolution” or the Commodification of Islam?
Religions 2020, 11(7), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070347 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 633
Abstract
Very little research has examined the emergence of Western Muslims into the elite professions that are central to the operation of the capitalist free market and that serve as a central location of economic and political power. Less research still has examined how [...] Read more.
Very little research has examined the emergence of Western Muslims into the elite professions that are central to the operation of the capitalist free market and that serve as a central location of economic and political power. Less research still has examined how this is shaping citizenship among Muslims and the future of Islam in the West. These professions include finance, trade and auditing and supporting free market infrastructure including commercial law, consulting and the entrepreneurial arms of government public service. Many Muslim men and women in these professions maintain a commitment to their faith and are often at the forefront of identifying opportunities for the application of Islamic principles to the free market through the development of social engineering mechanisms such as Islamic finance and home loans, Islamic wills, marriage contracts, businesses and context-specific solutions for Muslim clients. These may have a potentially profound impact on belonging and practice for current and future generations of Western Muslims. The political and economic clout (and broader potential public appeal) of these new Muslim elites often significantly outweighs that of Imams and Sheikhs and thus challenges traditional textually based Islam. This article, grounded in empirical research, seeks to build upon very limited research looking at Muslim elites, exploring these developments with specific reference to professionals working in Islamic finance and law across the Western contexts of Australia and the United States, two countries with capitalist free markets and significant Muslim minorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic and Muslim Studies in Australia)
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