Australian Muslim woman plans to raise awareness through an interfaith program

2015-05-01 09:41:21 | Al Muslim News
Australian Muslim woman plans to raise awareness through an interfaith program

 

Inviting people to look beyond her hijab, an Australian Muslim woman aims to raise awareness about her culture and religion through an interfaith project whose aim is to promote understanding of others.
The eight-week program organized by Mordialloc and Springvale Neighborhood Houses, the program, titled, "Learning and Living Together" to include visits to mosques and churches, sharing stories and cooking recipes. The project aims to unite women of different faiths and creates social relationship between communities, OnIslam reported.
Hayat Doughan, who migrant from Lebanon 35-years ago, has been trying to counter misconceptions about her faith by making others see her as a normal person who just happens to also run an interfaith project while donning a headscarf.
"We are women like any other women, the only difference is we follow our religion, we do prayers, we cover ourselves — this is the only difference between us and any other woman in Australia,†Doughan told the Herald Sun on Thursday, April 30.
“We consider ourselves Australian, our children are Australian...we are citizens like any other."
“The project aims to promote understanding, respect, appreciation and co-operation between all members of the community,†Mordialloc Neighborhood House member Amna Janjua.
Islam views hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
Throughout the 25 years that Doughan has worn her hijab while living in Australia, she recalls numerous abusive encounters.
Doughan explained how she was abused while going about her everyday life, including during a road rage incident three months ago when she was told: “Maybe if you take the f----ing thing off your head you’d be able to drive better.â€
"Being a migrant always makes you different, but being a covered Muslim, people straightaway think you’re dumb, you’re oppressed, you have no voice,†Doughan added.
Yet the Muslim woman affirmed that she has observed people beginning to change their attitude towards Muslims.
In the post-9/11 time Australian Muslims have been taunted by suspicion and their patriotism questioned.
A recent survey in Australia, found that a quarter of the Australian population has a negative attitude towards Muslims, amid increasing racial attacks against the religious minority.
The study further found that people over 65 and educated to year 11 are the most likely to be highly intolerant towards Muslims, unlike young people, between the ages of 18 and 44, who have the least negative opinion.
Younger residents of Victoria are among the groups that have the most positive attitude towards Muslims, according to the survey.
Muslims make upto 2.2 % of Australia’s 23.7 million populations belong to several nations and communities. Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.

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