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FACING THE CHALLENGES AND BUILDING THE CONFIDENCE;

A SPRITUAL AND CULTURAL JOURNEY

What does it mean to be a Muslim? How does it affect the way youth socialize in the
community where Muslim is being minority?

The above two fundamental question popped up in my mind when I imagine meeting
a young Australian Muslim. I was born and raised in a Muslim majority country
where I have such privillege to find a place to pray and ‘halal’ food so easily and that
environment has put me in a ‘confort zone’ that I rarely find a moment to question
about what does it mean to be a Muslim. In the contrast, Youth Muslim in Australia
have been struggling to define who they are of being Muslim and Australian at the
same time not to mention the status of immigrant that sometimes create social
problem.

The issue of identity is somehow unique to understand. The globalization has


somehow put identity in the intersection. Identity is not only dynamic but also
essential that many people need to seek it.

My desire to take a part in this exchange grows out of an old and long-term interest
to learn and share with inspiring Muslim youth leaders from a different perspective
and context. Working with a number of Muslim youth from the region has deepened
my commitment, while exposing me to new learning curves and challenges that have
immensely enriched me as part of a larger community. With this opportunity I seek
to enhance my motivations and efforts. By joining an event like this exchange, with
like-minded friends and crusaders from Australia, I hope to further strengthen my
organizations determination to secure those who feel insecure, to aid them in living
a dignified life and to speak for them when their voices are weak.

If I was selected, there are three major agenda I have in mind. First, to experience
Australian social and cultural environment where I can get first hand experience
about living being a Muslim. Second, to meet and learn from youth muslim and other
member of Muslim community in Australia on the challenges they face of being
Muslim. Third, to understand how the Government framework the religious
expression in Australian context.
Upon the completion of the Program, I shall return to the NGO where I learn and
serve for the last two years. Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) organize various
training and workshops through out the year where participants come from
countries all over Asia and sometimes other parts of the world. I conduct many
session to share, this can be a channel to share this experience, I also write regularly
in local news paper in my hometown this is can also be another channel

So far, I do not have much in mind which organization or individuals I’d like to meet.

I was attending an Islamic boarding school when the 9/11 tragedy took place and ever I
have told myself that both people who commit violence in the name of Islam and people
who automatically associate Islam with terrorism are both deadly wrong. HoweverI have
also realized and acknowledge that Islam, as a civilization not a religion, have
contributed (by a few irresponsible actors) to this culture of humiliation. My motivation
to participate in this event is simple; to share the spirit and learn how to build feelings of
hope so I can help break this culture that has been fueling Islamic extremist movements.
I want to impart to Islamic communities that no one will respect us if we cannot respect
ourselves.