Historian and social writer Bilal Cleland of Victoria has written extensively on Muslim Australia history. This year’s recent find of the Arabic Kilwa coins in Northern Territory’s Alice springs regions casts new light into theory of early Muslim seafarers landing on Australian soil a thousand years ago.
Australian historians such as late Manning Clarke acknowledged that brilliant Arab seamen sailed across the Indian Ocean into the Pacific ocean making early contacts with indigenous Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesian islands. About a 1000 years ago Indonesian archipelago was charted and trade was introduced with Muslim world bringing Northern Australia into Muslim trade routes. Australia’s contact with early Muslim sailors from the Abbasid era in light of the Kilwa coins will open up more scholarly debate and discussion of Australia’s early contact and cultural intercourse with Muslim empires of the East.
The first maps of Australia was drawn by Muslim cartographers with great precision whose ideas of a great Southern land haunted the psyche of medieval seafaring Catholic Europeans such as the Portuguese and the Spaniards. The footprints in the sands highlighted by ancient Arabic gold coins and ancient Muslim ship wrecks dotted through the Indian oceans within the range of Australian territorial seas has revealed the richness of Australia’s historiography.
This booklet casts an interesting insight into Muslim Australia.