A young Muslim woman has been named the 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the year, in recognition of her work in leading a successful youth project for years.
“The idea of Youth Without Borders is that young people work together on projects that positively impact their community,” Yassmin Abdel-Magied, the 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year, told 4BC on Friday 6 February.
“A lot of what we do is around creating equal opportunities for young people.
“No matter how old you are, where you are born, you have the capacity to change the world around you.”
Yassmin, won the Queensland award for her efforts and work with the “Youth Without Borders”, an organisation she established when she was just 16.
Yassmin, who is also an oil and gas engineer, said that she is honoured to receive the award that will help her to expand her organisation’s outreach.
“Awards like this give me the opportunity to speak to more people”, she said.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
In post 9/11-era, Australian Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
“Anyone who has grown up Muslim in Australia or in the West broadly has a pre-impose 9/11 life”, she said.
Being at the age of 10 at that time, Yassmin “went from someone who was brown and wore slightly different clothes to someone who represented something that I didn’t even understand.
“I represented an evil that people saw,” she added.
“That is something that we have to slowly come back from and that is the reality of the situation.”
Muslims and non-Muslims alike “need to focus on a collective humanity and community and work on issues that support us all together as Australian,” the Muslim winner stated.