Sayyid İbrahim Dellal
An Analysis of Untold Stories of a 'Living History'
İbrahim Dellal (1932-2018) was a community activist and played a pioneering role in establishing religious and educational institutions after his arrival in Melbourne in early 1950. As the grandson of a late Ottoman mufti, being educated at the American Academy, a Baptist missionary school in Cyprus, clashed at times with his traditional upbringing based on Islam, service and Ottoman patriotism. İbrahim’s parents, especially his mother, raised their son to be Osmanli Efendisi, an Ottoman gentleman. He was raised to be loyal to his faith and dedicated to his community. I met him in the late 80s in Sydney and discovered he was an important community leader, a ‘living history’, perhaps the most important figure in the Australian Muslim community since the mid-20th century. He was also one of the founders of Carlton and Preston mosques, which were the first places of worship in Victoria. I wrote his biography and published it in 2010. However, later I found he had more stories related to Australian Muslim heritage. First, this article will analyse İbrahim’s untold stories from his unrevealed archives that I collected. Second, İbrahim’s traditional upbringing, which was a combination of Western education and Ottoman Efendisi, will be critically evaluated. He successfully amalgamated Eurocentric education and Islamic way of life. Finally, his poetry, which reflects his thoughts, will be discussed.
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