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Isolation and insecurity: Resettlement issues among Muslim refugee women in Perth, Western Australia

Casimiro, S., Hancock, P. and Northcote, J. (2007) Isolation and insecurity: Resettlement issues among Muslim refugee women in Perth, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 42 (1). pp. 55-69.


Refugee Muslim women face a number of formidable obstacles in the resettlement process within Australia. As Muslims, they are a religious minority that has come under considerable racial attack in recent years in the wake of international terrorism. As refugees, they are struggling to put past traumas behind them and find 'security' in a strange land with different customs. As women, they are trying to find a voice for themselves amidst ethnic traditions that limit their range of expression and an Australian society that aspires to, but has not yet achieved, equality for women. Our qualitative study, upon which this paper is based, explored resettlement issues of Muslim refugee women during their first five years of arrival in Perth, Australia. It is based on focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 80 Muslim refugee women: 35 Iraqi, 34 Sudanese and 11 Afghan. Our study re-affirms that well-documented issues of resettlement continue to be poor English language competency, securing employment and accommodation and gender-specific problems. In addition, however, our study highlights a new and emerging issue, which is that of personal, psychological and cultural insecurity, heightened by the current political climate and exacerbated by their religious background. This leads to problematic 'intersections' with an Australian society that is far more complex and more difficult to cope with than is portrayed in popular discourse and political rhetoric of the easy-going 'lucky country'.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Australian Council of Social Service
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