Between a Rock and a Hard Place (The Block)
( A report by our Man-on-the-Mussallaah)
Four elderly gentlemen sit over a cup of coffee somewhere on the Gold Coast pondering the legacy they would one day leave behind as Muslims. "What part have we played in helping uplift the local indigenous Aboriginal population?", they ask themselves. And as fate would have it, one of them stumbles across a rather strongly built Aboriginal gentlemen sitting alongside in a train.
It turns out that Rocky Davis, aka, Shaeed Malik, is the founder, counsellor, fundraiser, Amir, spokesperson and veritable one-man-band for the K.O.O.R.I. Muslim Association based in the Aboriginal hotbed suburb of Redfern in Sydney. The story of his path to the straight and narrow, as the good Sheik tells it, reads like a Bryce Courtney novel, and the title "Power of One" would not have gone amiss in describing the influence Brother Rock is having in his neck of the woods.
Intrigued by the extent of his passion and commitment, the four Queenslanders brave the streets of Redfern and spend a few nights at the Centre to "see for themselves". What they did see was a man involved in an almost 24-hour occupation as unofficial social worker, cook, gym instructor, imam, teacher, caretaker, counselor and surrogate parent in a neighbourhood considered by social welfare and law enforcement agencies as the worst in Australia. With up to six people 'dropping in" to sleep in the house on a daily basis, it was an experience that they could hardly contain within themselves and arranged for Brother Malik to come up to Brisbane and meet with local Muslims and tell his story.
Several meetings were arranged during his stay here and the one question that came up most often was: "How did you become a Muslim". The very articulate Amir relishes the opportunity to explain that while incarcerated in a maximum security prison in solitary confinement (serving a 20-year term) he studied the writings of Ahmed Deedat and others and "saw a way of life that was different to what he has (previously) experienced". He saw Islam as the means for positive change in disadvantaged communities because the religion condemned drugs, alcohol and crime.
To help Aboriginal people, Brother Malik and other Indigenous Muslims formed the Aboriginal Muslim Association with the intent of engaging in charity work and dawah. A gym program was set up and plans for a shelter and safe house are underway. Brother Malik says, "We want to get the drugs out of Redfern and to restore dignity into the Aboriginal community".
Most of the setup and ongoing costs for the Centre have, thus far, been borne out of fruits of his own labour as a construction worker. The ongoing commitments have to be met on a weekly basis (rent, food and caring for the wayfareres, travel costs, etc.). The long term goal is to set up a permanent centre and to employ more dawah workers.
If you feel you can help in any way or need more information you can contact Brother Malik on 0424 697 352 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.