The Generous Generation
By Eugenia Flynn
I recently spoke with a brother who has been living in Australia for the past few years. Pleasantly, I was surprised when he told me of his desire to start a program to better the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. When I quizzed him about it, he stated that he did not feel that it was right to be visiting Australia and not try to do something for the Indigenous people.
This one simple statement has stayed with me ever since, as it struck me with its uniqueness and rarity. This is a sentiment that I have not heard in such a long time, nor articulated so well and it is definitely a sentiment that is rarely thought and spoken. With this statement came the acknowledgement that Indigenous people are disadvantaged in this country – the recognition of Indigenous Australian’s special place in Australian society as people who are, on some level, owed something better than our current circumstances, because our sovereignty was taken away.
To me, this statement has indicated a turning point in the type of support that I, as an Indigenous Australian who is also Muslim, can hope to expect from the Muslim community in Australia. Whilst this brother is one that does not reside in Australia permanently, I have seen a slow but sure change in the Muslim community over the past seven years. There is much more interest and solidarity from a small cohort of Muslims who really do support the cause of Indigenous Australians, not only with their minds and hearts, but also with their actions.
For this I am most grateful to Allah. Whilst I acknowledge (quite vocally I think!) that the majority of Muslims still do not know, understand or even care about the cause, I think it is important to recognise the work of key people I have met who do support. These sisters and brothers, mostly young people, have a mindset that I hope will spread throughout the Ummah – one of justice and equity – as the generations grow. These sisters and brothers give me hope and inspire me to continue my work – so here is to them – the generous generation.