Recently I found myself in Auburn, located 19 kms from the centre of Sydney. Auburn has a greatly diversified population and Wikipedia describes it as a place with Turkish, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Somali, Sudanese, Bosnian, Afghan, Chinese and Indian immigrants. It is where Gallipoli Mosque is located. This mosque was built largely before the larger waves of Lebanese and other Muslim populations came to the area. Turkish immigrants have a longer, more successful history of adaptation to Australia than the more recent waves. If you walk around Auburn you will see many signs in Arabic, African immigrants [who looked to me quite unhappy] and of course many hijabbed women walking past shops with names like ‘Medina Bakery’ and so on. Of the proportions of religious affiliations, the Wikipedia entry states:
The five most prominent religions in Auburn are Islam (40.9%), Catholicism (15.3%), No religion (10.3%), Buddhism (6.8%) and Anglican (3.6%). (source)
This reflects a demographic change over the past decades and also a social change for the Wikipedia entry also adds:
Auburn was the first suburb in which security guards were introduced into supermarkets to patrol the aisles, because the burqa-clad women were stealing so much merchandise as to make them unprofitable…] It was also the first suburb in which pre-payment of petrol was introduced in daylight hours. (source)
And also says this:
Auburn has boasted a Hindu temple for many years. It was the oldest Hindu temple in Australia. It has been regularly attacked by followers of another religion, who hope to build a mosque on the site. (source) (read also THIS article)
During my recent amble through the suburb, I saw the following which illustrates the growth of the ‘Islamic’ section of this suburb’s population.
I also saw evidence of expanding Chinese presence in the area and it will be interesting to see if , in the future, the territorial battle will be between the increasing Chinese presence [were these the people who answered ‘no religion’ in the census ?] and the Islamic groups.
As I see it – the question for Auburn is - how will Islam fare against the might of Chinese business savvy and continuing expansion?