Azizi Khalid

July 14, 2021

Camels and Australia


Back in 1992, I attended an advanced English course where the reading assignment included Tracks, a true story about a lady travelling over 2000 km across the Western Australian desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with a dog and four camels. Having just returned from Saudi Arabia, a book about an adventure in the desert with camels quickly became one of my favourites. 

But the thing that struck me most about the tale was that the Camel Lady, as the media affectionately called her, was trained by Saleh Mahomet, a descendant of the Afghan cameleers. That triggered my interest in the history of one of the earliest Muslim migrants to Australia. Little did I know that three decades later, Allah blesses me with the opportunity to traverse through some of the routes used by those cameleers on my Qaswa Mobile.

When I wanted to start an Islamic organisation in Australia, Qaswa seemed to be a natural choice. It was the name of the camel of Prophet Muhammad on many of his important journeys such as the Hijrah, Hudaibiyyah, the Conquest of Makkah and others. It was the Prophet's favourite camel. And camels played such a significant role in shaping modern Australia. It is not too much to say that modern Australia is built on the back of camels.

Camels are not native to Australia, yet they thrived and helped built this country. They were brought here by the cameleers towards the end of the 19th century. They were probably the only animal that could survive the harsh landscape of this arid island.

It is our dream at Qaswa to see Islam, despite not being the native religion in Australia, contributes positively to shaping Australia. It is our dream to see Muslims not only survive in Australia but thrive here.

p.s: Photo on the left bottom corner is me visiting the grave of Tagh Mahomet, a cameleer killed while performing Fajr prayer in 1896.

Azizi Khalid
Making Islamic education fun at Qaswa House
Towards the Middle Path