I am the last born of five siblings. Both my parents, Helen and Gregory, are still alive. My father, Gregory, is seventy-five years old. My mother, Helen, is sixty years old. Like all Australian children in my day, I grew up spending most of my time outside. My family wasn’t religious and we rarely went to church. I remember sometimes going to church when there was a wedding, a funeral and on Christmas. Apart from those occasions I’m not sure whether I could be called a Christian. There was someone I knew who did have a religion, and who practiced it. He was my best friend, Ahmad.
Ahmad would go and wash regularly and go off to hide away. I always wondered what he was doing. One day, I saw him bow down and put his head on the ground. It was strange. I asked him afterwards and he seemed to be annoyed that I had saw him. Almost reluctantly he told me that he was praying to Allah. “Who is Allah?” I asked. “The God of all; He who created everything and who keeps everything alive,” he replied. That stuck with me and would later influence my decisions in life.