Author: irfan-yusuf

Highway to Hell! How do YOU know?

Here’s a scenario. The Prime Minister decides to organise an iftar dinner at Kirribilli House in Sydney. A bunch of imams turn up, along with professionals, business leaders and celebrities. Over the next few days and weeks, The Australian newspaper runs a series of stories exposing homophobic remarks made by some of the attendees going back years, perhaps decades. The implication is that Muslims are all anti-homosexual, unenlightened and unable to fit into Australian values. Years later, a devout Christian rugby player has his contract terminated for making comments on social media stating that a host of groups (including...

Read More

Dear Prime Minister: Congratulations

Congratulations on what surely is a miraculous victory. You defied the pundits and the polls. It wasn’t the Australian Financial Review or the Daily Telegraph that delivered you votes. Your victory proves that ultimately it isn’t inner-city journalists or the lobbies or the talking heads on TV sets that win elections. It is real voters with real concerns. Voters like the readers of this newspaper.Advertisements Your party stands for maximising the opportunity for individuals. Please treat me as an individual. Don’t treat me as just a member of “the Muslim community” separate from broader Australia. Don’t see Muslims as some single monolithically religious...

Read More

Remembering Colombo Christians this Ramadan

Growing up with Ramadan was always fun. I grew up in a family where we all fasted. Mum used to wake us up early in the morning. She’d cook lots of fried shami kabab that would keep us thirsty all day. To combat the thirst, we’d eat watermelon. I’d eat a meat pie or two. Then at iftar, I’d eat a third and a fourth. The best thing about Ramadan was late afternoon hunger when you’d feel like you were floating. The worst thing was the lack of sleep, especially during the long days. In high school, my mates...

Read More

The perils of being a minority writer

It’s a terrible conundrum. You enjoy writing and being published. But if you live in Australia or the US or any other Western country and come from a minority background, you only ever seem to get published when you write about your background. It has happened to me too many times. My first article in a “mainstream” publication was when I hacked into an imam for implying that women who dress a certain way may be “eligible for rape”.  The piece was published in the Sydney Morning Herald in April 2005. Now I‘m serving a literary life sentence of...

Read More

Somalis are not all the same

As part of my doctoral studies, I interviewed young Muslims from Sydney. Some of my participants were from the African continent. One young Somali told me about how he was subjected to racism from Arabic-speaking Muslims in Lakemba. I thought of him when reading American Somali Abdi Nor Iftin’s 2008 memoir Call Me American. “Growing up with a huge number of Somali exiles returning from Saudi Arabia, I never understood why my mom and her parents dreamed of living in a place [Madinah] where Somalis are unwelcome. It would be many years before I realized that Somalis are pretty...

Read More
Signup To Our Newsletter

Signup To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive emails from AMUST.

You have successfully signed up!