Name: Sulman Sarwar
Occupation: Studying and working like a dog to pay my HECS debt and tax (which I’ll probably have to pay off for the rest of my life!).
Relationship with Islam: I consider myself influenced by Islam, but still needing a push in life.
Where do you wish to be in 10 years?
I want to be someone like Batman.
How has the portrayal of Muslims in the media has affected your life?
It feels like everyone looks at you twice, or their faces drop after you tell them you’re Muslim. The portrayal makes it hard for people to understand, especially those with no connection to Muslims. It’s hard to find a person that would help you with open arms. The media is wrong in depicting Islam as anti-everything – women, human rights, freedom. Truth is, Islam is a religion of peace and love, something that I wish more people would open their eyes to.
You were young when the 9/11 attacks happened. Do you remember your life before that day? What has changed?
I remember waking up to try to watch Cheese TV and something else came on. I was annoyed because John Howard was on the TV talking about something. I know that life has changed for us here in Australia. But if our lives have changed, then think for a second about how hard life would have become for Muslims in the United States and far abroad.
Being Muslim seems to mean that you’re either an ‘extremist’ or ‘moderate’. How do these labels affect you?
It’s all about balance, in my opinion. Who says we have to be so extreme or be ‘moderate’? You should do everything like the Quran and the Hadith states and follow the Prophet’s words. In saying that, as long as we don’t step out of boundaries, Islam doesn’t prohibit people from going to dinner, working, watching tv shows, playing sports, enjoying comedy etc.
How do your friends feel about your Islamness?
I’m not quite sure. Everyone has the right to judge and have their opinion, but I think it’s all about the heart and what your true intentions are. If your intentions are good and you make an effort to good, then people will respond positively to you.
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