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Islamic schools in Australia
One of the major concerns of Muslims living as a minority in a Western secular society is the education of their children. For the early Muslim settlers in Australia there was no formal option, apart from teaching about the faith at home or in the mosque. The first substantial Muslim emigration to Australia came with organised migration from Turkey in the late 1960s and after 1975 with Lebanese families escaping civil war in their homeland. Most of the new arrivals were preoccupied with finding work. Only later, as mosques and prayer halls were established and community associations formed, was there a chance to start formalising proposals for some kind of Islamic education for their children. Until then, most of the children went to state schools, apart from a few middle class professional families who could afford to send their children to private schools, with the girls often being sent to single-sex Catholic schools.
Since the first two Islamic schools were opened in Australia in 1983, two questions have come to the fore. Firstly, for Muslims, there is the question of what constitutes an appropriate 'Islamic' education, while for more (sometimes) hostile elements of the wider Australian community, do these schools simply further divide Muslim children from other Australian children and are they promoting what they perceive as unAustralian values?
Publication titleThe La Trobe Journal
Department/SchoolSchool of Humanities
PublisherState Library of Victoria Foundation
Place of publicationMelbourne, Australia
Rights statementCopyright 2010 State Library of Victoria.