Young Muslims and drugs in Australia
AUSTRALIA'S disadvantaged young Muslims are so directionless and fearful of being excluded by the broader community many are turning to drugs and contemplating suicide.
Ninety-eight per cent of 150 Sydney-based young Muslims surveyed had considered suicide as a "way out" of the conflicts in their life as a Muslim in a non-Muslim society.
The All Eyes On Youth study found eight out of 10 young Muslims aged between 12 and 25 considered the education system of no assistance "in making lifetime choices", and 94 per cent lacked a clear goal in life.
The findings emerged from a conference for young Muslims organised by the Independent Centre for Research Australia in Sydney last November.
ICRA president Fadi Rahman told The Australian yesterday he was alarmed that almost all the 75 males involved in the survey had experimented with drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine.
"We're talking about cocaine, and some of them have even got to a point where they've tried heroin," said the Muslim community leader from Auburn, in Sydney's southwest.
"If we're raising a generation where such a high percentage are contemplating suicide and such a high percentage of drug use exists, I think we're heading for a disaster as a nation. Because what this is doing is tearing the very fabric of our society."
Mr Rahman said many young Muslims felt alienated by the wider community, especially since the September 11 attacks on the US, which had placed Islam under the microscope.
Young disadvantaged Muslims were worse off than other young people with problems because they lacked aspirations and possessed no vision of hope.
"Most disadvantaged teenagers would at least tell you what they would like to be," Mr Rahman said.
"Our kids did not have goals at all - nothing. As far as they were concerned, it was a dead end and that's that."
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