Aborigines on t he heels of Cassius Clay and Malcolm X

Australia’s native population is finding a new ident ity in Islam.

Just as in 1960s America, a boxing champion has become a symbol in today’s Australia. Following in the footsteps of his role model Cassius Clay, who converted to Islam and became Muhammad Ali, 38-year-old Anthony Mundine has chosen to become a follower of Allah.But Australia’s most famous boxer is not the only Aborigine to have gone down that path.

The trend emerged when comparing data from the 2001 census with the most recent one, in 2011. In just ten years the number of Australian Aborigines who claim to be Muslim has almost doubled, from 641 to 1,140. Not exactly a mass conversion – the indigenous Australian population is some 600,000 strong – but the exponential increase of the past ten years has brought to light certain aspects of the Aborigine culture and its colonisation by the United Kingdom that had not been given much consideration before.

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