The study of English by individuals with a non English background (NESB) is now recognized to be of utmost importance for practical and useful purposes. Every year a large number of individuals from NESBs immigrate to Australia. To be able to communicate with the Australian community most immigrants learn English as a second language in AMES language centres throughout Australia
This research focuses on the NESB community of Iraqi Muslim women studying English at AMES; more specifically it will focus on the problems Iraq women face when pursuing their studies at an English language centre in Australia. In my experience, maintaining the Islamic cultural identity when learning English in western society is the main challenge facing women from an Islamic cultural background and for these women, as Rida & Milton (2001) assert, there may be conflict between their commitment to Islam and their desire to interact with Australian society (p.37). This research investigates, from the perspectives of a group of Iraqi Muslim women who have migrated to Australia and are thus away from their ancestral Islamic countries, whether their Islamic identity is an impediment to their learning English language in an AMES centre in Australia, and if it is how is it an impediment.
The literature review will consider a number of issues under the following headings:
Theorising and negotiating identity – experiences of Muslim women in Iraq
Gender and the Muslim religion – experiences of Muslim women in Iraq
Education in Iraq
History of Iraqi immigration to Australia
Muslim women in Australia experiences of Muslim women in Australia
The Hijab and veiling – the Australian debate
Education at AMES – its goals and objectives
Iraqi women studying at AMES – profile of Muslim women studying at AMES
Rida, A. & Milton, M. (2001). The non-joiners: why migrant women aren’t accessing English language classes, Prospect, vol.16 (1), 35-48.