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Young Muslims in Australia and their Identity Formation


This article examines identity construction among young Muslims in multicultural and multi-faith Australia. Multiculturalism and the social position of young Muslims in Australia has long been poorly perceived by many bigoted politicians and public intellectuals who all argue against social cohesion of diverse cultures believing minority groups form ghettos.  In media presentations and political discourses Muslims are often constructed as the “Other” forcing many Muslims to reconstruct their identities around religion – Islam - as the principal marker of identity. It is suggested in the paper that young Muslims in Australia face multiple challenges to live out their principal identity despite Australia’s multicultural and democratic claims. Many young Muslims continue to experience marginalisation and “Othering” and even many Australian-born third generation Muslims struggle to gain general recognition as valued citizens of Australia. The article argues that young Muslims have a developed capacity to work through depoliticised, hybrid and contextualised identities in multicultural and multi-faith Australia, however, they still experience unreasonable and unequal burden to constantly prove their allegiance to Australia to be considered “true Australians.” Under such pressures sometimes young Muslims are forced to downplay or even conceal their Islamic identity in which they normally find comfort and security.  Through forced espousal of secular values in an endeavour to be recognised as integrated “Australians”, some young Muslims suffer from identity crisis constantly re-evaluating who they are.


Australian Muslims, Islam, Identity, Marginalisation, Multiculturalism, Other



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