Meredith Booth, in The Australian, 20 January 2016, with headline ” One in 10 Australians are “highly Islamophobic” and have a fear or dread of Muslims, a University of South Australia study has found”
The University’s International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding has surveyed 1000 Australians, finding 10 per cent of people had negative or hostile attitudes towards Muslims, with the elderly, less educated and those with a poor attitude towards migrants more likely to hold such views. The level of worry about terrorism in Australia had a strong influence on their views, the report, provided to The Australian, said. Riaz Hassan said the survey was the first “pulse” taken of Australians’ perceptions towards one of the country’s most diverse religious communities and he hoped more research would be done to gauge shifts in attitudes.
The findings indicated most Australians were not Islamophobic, with 70 per cent surveyed comfortable having a Muslim as a family member or close friend, although more felt social distance from Muslims than from other religious groups, Professor Hassan said. A further 20 per cent were undecided on the issue.
The centre’s work examines the basis of tensions between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds and the role governments, local communities and the media play within a social and cultural rather than purely religious context. “There are pockets of prejudice and anxiety directed towards Muslims, for example among the aged and those facing financial insecurity, but the great majority of Australians in all states and regions are comfortable to live alongside Australian Muslims,’’ the report, based on a survey taken in September, said.
About 60 per cent of the 500,000 Muslims living here came from 183 countries, making them the most ethnically and nationally heterogeneous religious communities, the report said. By 2050, Muslims would grow from 2.2 per cent to 5 per cent of the Australian population, making Islam the second largest religion.
Professor Hassan said Australians’ tolerance towards immigrants strongly influenced their Islamophobia score while higher proportions of older Australians, aged 65 to 74, people who had not completed Year 12, and those not in the labour force showed higher rates of negative views. The report authors said it was surprising that political affiliations had a strong correlation with Islamophobia. Australians aligned with the Liberal and Nationals parties have significantly higher levels of Islamophobia than those aligned with the Labor Party while Greens voters tended to have the lowest Islamophobia score, the report said.
ALSO SEE …. LISTEN for STAN GRANT’S SPEECH from last year on the condition of Aboriginal People in Australia == http://www.skynews.com.au/news/national/2016/01/24/stan-grant-s-speech-on-aust-racism-goes-viral.html