The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

(Joyce) #1


Jews and Muslims “Downunder”

Emerging Dialogue and Challenges

Suzanne D. Rutland

Until 1970, there were very few Muslims in Australia. However, Muslim/
Jewish relationships have emerged as an important issue with the rapid
increase of Muslim immigration to Australia after 1972. This chapter will
provide the background context of Australian immigration policies and
multiculturalism and outline the significant demographic differences, in
terms of both migration patterns and socioeconomic profiles, including
areas of settlement of Jews and Muslims. It will discuss the emerging
problem of anti-Muslim feelings in the general Australian community,
especially since the first Gulf War of 1991, and the concurrent growth of
anti-Semitism. It will also analyze the reasons for these racist tendencies
in Australia, including the rising level of antipathy. The federal govern-
ment has attempted to address these problems through a variety of ini-
tiatives. While the efforts to create greater understanding between Jews
and Muslims, as well as with the broader Christian community, are to be
commended, these efforts have been piecemeal and too limited to deal
seriously with the problem. They can be said to reflect government token-
ism in dealing with this issue, which has not yet received the attention or
the funding that it requires.

Australian Immigration Policy and Multiculturalism:
A “Fair Go for All”

The desire to exclude Asian migrants, who were described as the “yellow
peril” in the nineteenth century, was a key factor in the federation of the

Free download pdf