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Number Of Islamic Converts Increasing - Australia

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Number of Islamic converts increasing




AM - Saturday, 27 August , 2005 08:06:10


Reporter: Lisa Millar


EDMOND ROY: As the Government tries to find a ways to prevent Muslim extremism in Australia, the number of people converting to Islam is increasing.


Queensland's Islamic community says its numbers have more than doubled in recent years, and it now boasts more than 15,000 followers, including those who've turned away from other religions such as Christianity.


And following this week's meeting in Canberra, Muslim community leaders says they're committed to weeding out extremists.


Lisa Millar reports


LISA MILLAR: Omar Boswood was once Ryan Boswood. A young central Queenslander, he left the Catholic faith and converted to Islam last year, after becoming curious about the religion in the aftermath of September 11.


OMAR BOSWOOD: Once I started researching for myself and making my own decisions in regards to research and reading I come to my own understanding and realise the beauty of Islam.


LISA MILLAR: But it didn't come straight away. In fact, he told Queensland's Stateline program his first reaction after the attacks was to join the army to fight terrorists.

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OMAR BOSWOOD: After I watched September 11 I did go to join the army, unfortunately I was asthmatic and so I didn't get let in, obviously. But at the time I didn't really understand Muslims or Islam, and I wasn't… I had no way of knowing what Islam was about.


I referred to Muslims with some very bad names… I will be honest, but the Bible basically pushed me to Islam because I had so many unanswered questions, and I found the answer in the Koran.


LISA MILLAR: Imams in Queensland say Omar Boswood is one of many new believers.


Much of Uzair Akbar's work is in conversions.


He says September 11 is responsible for the rise in the religion's popularity.


UZAIR AKBAR: It is sad what is happening in the world but the events are allowing us to break those boundaries and jump the obstacles. So we're getting a greater opportunity to speak to the people about the religion Islam.


LISA MILLAR: Uzair Akbar says Queensland's Muslim population might be growing but they feel they're being targeted more than ever.


UZAIR AKBAR: They are Muslims, we cannot deny that, but it is disturbing that people do generalise, that every Muslim is like that, but this is a test from God upon us and we have to endure it, we have to be patient, and we believe through the infinite mercy of God, at the end of the day truth will prevail.


LISA MILLAR: Earlier this month Queensland's Islamic leader, Abdul Jalal, was involved in an urgent meeting with the State's Police Commissioner and Premier to discuss ways of battling the discrimination.


ABDUL JALAL: Unfortunately, Muslims in Australia are in focus at the moment. So we have got to establish dialogues.


LISA MILLAR: And Imam Akbar believes if there are any radical cells developing in Queensland, Masjids like his will play a key role in finding them.


UZAIR AKBAR: We can't be complacent. We have to look out, we have to be very careful. If we see anyone talking about violence, or backing up the acts of violence, then we will inform the authorities.


EDMOND ROY: Imam Uzair Akbar on the rise of Islam in Queensland. And Lisa Millar with that report.


(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.abc.com.au/am/content/2005/s1447377.htm"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.abc.com.au/am/content/2005/s1447377.htm[/url]

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August 26, 2005

THESE are the new faces of Islam in Australia ? Sydney women who have chosen to become Muslims.



As the Muslim community faces its toughest scrutiny, hundreds of men and women like Marshalla Fogg (pictured with her daughter Yassmine) are turning their backs on Christianity either by marriage or conversion.


A Saturday Daily Telegraph investigation over seven weeks has found that just one Muslim association in Lakemba has overseen almost 500 conversions of non-Middle Eastern people in just three years.


Two-thirds are women ? choosing to don the veil for Allah.


They have helped propel the rapid growth in our Muslim population, up from 200,885 at the 1996 census to 281,578 today.


While this 40 per cent increase comes largely from immigration, it is also due to women such as single mother of three Mashallah Fogg.


Her long search for peace ended when she converted along with her three children.


The softly-spoken nurse packed up her children and left the Hunter Valley two years ago to move to Lakemba. Now she wears the the hijab and abayah and smiles as she describes the joy Islam has given her and her children once known as Blade, Kayla and Jessica and now called Bilal, Amatullah and Yassmine.


"My mother is C of E and my father Catholic so I grew up exposed to both religions, but Islam is the first that has given me all the answers I have sought for such a long time," the 31-year-old said.

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"Christianity never added up and Islam just did."


Yassmine,10 , began wearing the hijab a week before her mother and said she was odd one out at school when not wearing it.


For the past seven weeks The Saturday Daily Telegraph has been investigating why so many young Australians are turning to Islam when it is the most feared and scrutinised faith in the world.


Most new Muslims come from Christian backgrounds and have been ostracised by their families, while others fear to identify publicly for fear of being labelled terrorists.


Said Kanawati from the Australian New Muslim Association who runs the introduction to Islam classes said new converts were introduced by school friends, work colleagues and neighbours.


The Qantas engineer and father of three said average Australians had little understanding of Islam and he believes Muslims can never fully integrate into this society.


"We can watch the rugby, but not in a pub surrounded by alcohol and we can go to the beach but our women cannot wear bikinis," he said. Islam is the fastest-growing religion with estimates of about1 . 8billion Muslims worldwide.





(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story/0,20281,16395466-5001021,00.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.dailytelegraph.news.com.au/stor...5001021,00.html[/url]

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Converting Australian aboriginals to Islam

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.thesundaymail.news.com.a..E903%2C00.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.thesundaymail.news.com.a..



Muslim preacher wants TV recruits



A FIREBRAND Muslim preacher who plans to set up a TV channel to convert Aborigines to Islam has been given unfettered access to Australia.


Controversial American cleric Sheik Khalid Yasin (pictured), who says husbands can beat unruly wives and that all Australians should become Muslims, has already raised tens of thousands of dollars in donations.


He works for Britain's Islamic Information Network and regularly visits Australia on a multiple-entry visa.


He is now trying to establish the Islamic satellite TV station based in Sydney.


Sheik Yasin, a former Vietnam veteran who was inspired to adopt Islam after the murder of black Muslim leader Malcolm X, hates Western music, is sceptical of democracy, wants to convert indigenous peoples to Islam, and believes the Koran allows gays to be executed.


"Why not? What's wrong with that?" Sheik Yasin told an interviewer recently.


"God is very straightforward about this . . . , the Sharia is very clear about it, the punishment for homosexuality . . . or anything like that is death."


His inflammatory statements have attracted the attention of Australian security services.


He is being closely watched for any breaches of the law which could see the removal of his visa.


His group has inspired about 5000 conversions.

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