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Four in five Australian Muslims suffer prejudice

27th Aug 2021
Four in five Australian Muslims suffer prejudice

Elham Asaad Buaras

Almost 80 per cent of Australian Muslims have experienced prejudice or discrimination, that’s according to a survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The report, released on July 20, shows Australia’s Muslims experience discrimination in almost every facet of life, including dealing with law enforcement, in the workplace or during job searches, at shops or restaurants and online.

Although over 60 per cent of the 1,000 Australian Muslims surveyed agreed Australia was a welcoming society, 25 per cent felt unable to report discrimination. Almost 80 per cent said the 2019 Christchurch terror attacks in New Zealand made them feel afraid for their community.

Nearly everyone interviewed could provide an example of someone in their immediate family or friendship group who had been a victim of harassment, hate or vilification incident.

“The stories shared by Australian Muslim community members for this project have brought home to me that the undercurrents of religious discrimination, vilification and hate that manifested so horribly in the Christchurch attack are not an aberration,” Chin Tan, Race Discrimination Commissioner, says in the report.

“They are consistent with the experiences of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate that is routinely experienced in Australia.

“As highlighted in the New Zealand royal commission into the Christchurch attacks, societies that become polarised around difference are likely to see radicalised ideologies develop and flourish,” Tan said.

He said the report underlined the need for a national anti-racism strategy, in the same way Australia has national strategies to prevent child sexual abuse and family violence.

Australia has not had a national anti-racism strategy since 2018 and no federal funding for one since 2015.

“It’s not enough to simply condemn racism,” Tan said. “We need a coordinated strategy that works on many fronts to actively counter racism at the various levels that it occurs.”

Senator Mehreen Faruqi, the first Muslim woman elected to the Australian Senate, said, “This report makes for disturbing reading, but I have to say I am not surprised by its findings, and I expect many Muslims would say the same thing. The discrimination is very real, and so are its consequences.

““Australia urgently needs to recommit itself to anti-racism and fighting Islamophobia, especially in the face of a resurgent far-right. We need to invest in and roll out a national anti-racism program, stronger laws on extremism and hate speech, and a much better representation of people of colour in public life.

“It has not escaped me that this report has recommended better representation of Muslims in the Australian media in the same week it was revealed Channel Seven cast a woman with a history of toxic Islamophobia and racism in an upcoming TV series. This saga was a strong reminder of the sustained Islamophobia and racism in the Australian media,” she said.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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