On Tuesday 19 October 2010, Adelaide-based Eugenia Flynn spoke at a gathering at Melbourne University on the topic of Race & Identity in the Muslim Community. Her words and her delivery stunned her listeners as well as her fellow panellists (North American comics Preacher Moss and Azhar Usman).
I tried taking copious notes at the event, which I have typed out and reproduced below. If anyone who attended has any corrections or can add anything, please do.
 My conversion to Islam did not represent a rejection of my Aboriginal or Catholic heritage. I don't reject Catholicism as some kind of religion of oppressors. My path to Islam was more of a flowering of my innate spirituality.
 Some Muslims see Islam as a badge of honour. Because Islam is getting a rough time, they see being Muslim as giving them street cred.
 Some migrant Muslims claim that they have a more exclusive and legitimate connection with Aboriginal people, as if Muslims have a superior claim to Australia than non-indigenous followers of other faiths. This sense of ownership and superiority leads to a kind of arrogance, as if Muslims have a greater right to speak for indigenous people, which is compounded by the fact that many Muslim migrants are not white. Many Muslims don't realise that this kind of arrogance makes them complicit in the injustice perpetrated toward indigenous people.
 Why is the Aboriginal Muslim community growing? Are Aboriginal converts attracted by some alleged increase in freedom? Do Aboriginal Muslims feel Muslim for all the same reasons? Must it always be explained as a rejection of Christianity and/or Western culture?
 Many Muslims have adopted the same colonial mindset toward indigenous people as Christian missionaries. They see the purpose of dawah (preaching) to be saving Aboriginal people and getting them to leave behind their aboriginality. Aboriginal Muslims are also pressed to adopt migrant Muslim modes of dress etc. Underlying this is often the presumption that Aboriginality boils down to petrol sniffing, alcohol abuse and criminality.
 The notion that Muslims somehow become morally superior over other Australians simply because a growing number of indigenous people are adopting Islam must be challenged.
To be continued ...
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