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Title: Albanian Muslims in secular, multicultural Australia
Author: Ahmeti, Sharon
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 3546
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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This paper examines the discourses of multiculturalism and secularism in Australia through the lens of Albanian Muslims living in two Victorian cities, Shepparton and Dandenong. Grounded on 17 months of fieldwork and an analysis of Australian government policy, it argues that the reliance of State policies on constructed concepts of ethnicity, religion, nationality and community are inadequate based on the divergences of understanding and use of these concepts between the Albanian people I met and their use in State policies and projects. This thesis considers Albanians' position as white European Muslims in a supposedly multicultural and secular nation that has become increasingly hostile towards Islam over recent years. In Australian dominant narratives of nation, Ethnic and Anglo-Australians are constructed as oppositional categories in a tripartite structure (that also includes Indigenous Australians) and Muslims are considered a relatively new Other. Yet, Albanian Muslims arrived in significant numbers in Australia more than 100 years ago, during the White Australia policy years. Their European background and varied approaches to being Muslim that are often described as tolerant and relaxed adds a largely unheard voice to both the diversity of Islam and to the increasing hostile tension between Muslims and 'the West' that are reflected in mainstream political and media rhetoric. The idea of an inherent clash between Islam and the West is maintained through the enactment of a particular kind of secularism that is implemented in ways specific to Australia, based on Christian-oriented thought system rooted in the European Enlightenment and Reformation. Similarly, multiculturalism is based on a particular worldview based on Liberal normative assumptions and supposed shared 'Australian values' and character, creating an inherent paradox and the enduring marginalisation of 'Ethnics'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Muslims