Growing up in Sydney, we as Muslim youth are immersed in racialised and diluted interpretations of Islam. The global campaign against Islam on political, ideological and social levels is on the rise, and being visibly Muslim has never been more difficult. We sense the coloniser’s firm gaze is upon us while we are spoken about in mainstream media invariably as the irrational ‘other’. Our histories are no more than a two-page summary in a textbook and we find it difficult to express ourselves and feel understood. We are observed and critiqued in an atmosphere where there is immense pressure to conform.
Standing in the eye of this turbulent storm, our hearts still yearn to connect, once again, with the roots, with the core of our glorious and comprehensive deen of Islam. As we approach to speak its teachings however, why do we hear uncertainty in our voices? Why do we hesitate and feel uneasy when mentioning Muhammad (saws) ‘s name? Crushed in the confusion, many of us have internalised an inferiority complex. A complex in which we become passive, reactive, fatalistic and defeatist. We become Muslims who are accustomed to cushioning the white man’s anxieties.
From the desire to reignite confidence in the Muslim consciousness, the idea of the Confident Muslim Campaign (CMC) was born. A campaign that could serve as a vehicle in shifting old attitudes of timidity, uncertainty, reactionism, weakness and diffidence towards an elevated, forward-thinking, position of conviction, composure and confidence.
The question of “What does it mean to be confident?” became a hot topic of discussion. The campaign developed into an elaborate, collaborative effort of multiple Muslim Students’ Associations (MSAs) across eight university campuses. The campaign’s combined effort produced an enormous output of quality discussion and contributions from all MSAs in the form of lectures, videos, creative competitions, workshops, interviews, debates, panels, and a 36-page magazine. Mainstream Muslim student conversation in Sydney took to a new level on topics such as reviving the legacy of our pious predecessors, intellectual responses to atheism, contentions between secular law and the shariah, presenting the case for Tawheed, responding to arguments against the existence of a Creator, origin and design of the Universe, the Orientalist construction of the Muslim woman, sexuality and race theory. Tackling these areas via a range of male and female da’wah carriers locally, we were also honoured to have hosted international figures such as Sharif Abu Laith, Abdullah Andalusi and a special address by Moazzam Begg.
Drawing our campaign to a courageous close, the Confident Muslim Conference, scheduled to be held in Campsie’s Orion Centre on Sunday the 7th of February, in catering to a 700-strong Muslim audience, will address the critical issues surrounding the Muslim psyche, reconnecting with our tradition, reinstating our self-worth, self-respect, reinforcing the need to stand defiant in face of government pressure and the media onslaught, and the mobilisation of youth at a grassroots level.
We hope this campaign will leave a clear impression on our local community: a impression that realigns our collective psyche, our certainty and our conviction in diagnosing the reality before us with a critical lens and living our lives with a clear vision and a clear purpose, on the basis of our Islam alone.