- A Charles Sturt University academic and researcher has released the fourth Islamophobia in Australia Report (March 2023) in partnership with the Islamophobia Register Australia and the Islamic Science and Research Academy
- The report finds that Islamophobia disproportionately affects Muslim women and children
- Despite the prevalence of Islamophobia in public places, bystanders witnessing incidents do not appear to be intervening to support victims
A Charles Sturt University researcher has released the fourth Islamophobia in Australia Report (March 2023) in partnership with the Islamophobia Register Australia and the Islamic Science and Research Academy (ISRA).
Report author Associate Professor Dr Derya Iner in the Charles Sturt Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation and the Principal Researcher for Islamophobia Register Australia said its flagship research report released today highlights the gendered nature of Islamophobia.
“Alarmingly, despite the prevalence of Islamophobia in public places, comprising ‘hotspots’, bystanders witnessing incidents do not appear to be intervening to support victims,” Professor Iner said.
“Islamophobic incidents were mostly committed by men perceived to be from Anglo/European backgrounds and from older cohorts, and the victims were mostly younger hijab-wearing women from non-White ethnic backgrounds and from vulnerable cohorts, unaccompanied or with children.
“These are the most significant characteristics of Islamophobia we keep seeing over the course of eight years in the reported incidents of Islamophobia in Australia.
“Incidents in guarded places continue to increase - up 70 per cent in the last reporting period. If we don’t want to keep repeating these numbers in the next eight years, it is time to ask ourselves ‘What can we do to stop it?’ and ‘How can we dismantle gender, race and age enablers reproducing Islamophobia?’.”
The Executive Director of the Islamophobia Register Australia Ms Sharara Attai said it’s clear from this report that there is an urgent need to activate bystanders, both in the real world and online.
“What’s also troubling is that this report reinforces the fact that Islamophobia disproportionately affects Muslim women,” she said. “We need government action to ensure greater safeguards for Muslims in Australia.”
Scope of the Report
The fourth Islamophobia in Australia Report covers the 2020-2021 reporting period, but also goes beyond that by compiling all incident data from the inception of the Register in September 2014 until December 2021 during which there were 930 verified incidents (515 offline and 415 online).
“In this way, this fourth report is particularly significant because it demonstrates how Islamophobia has manifested in Australia over time,” Professor Iner said.
Some Key Statistics
As with the three previous reports, this Report again reinforced the gendered nature of Islamophobia. Most victims were women (78 per cent) and most perpetrators were men (70 per cent). Two-in-three women were harassed by male perpetrators.
The report also highlights a concerning fall in witness reporting which dropped by about half (from 47 per cent to 24 per cent) since the inception of the Register (2014-15) until the start of the COVID-19 era (2020-21).
In online circumstances, it was found that three quarters (75 per cent) of reporters in the period of 2014-21 were Muslim. The ratio of non-Muslim reporters dropped significantly (from 35 per cent in 2014-15 to two per cent in 2020-21).
Over the eight-year period, verbal intimidation was the most common form of abuse (45 per cent), followed by graffiti and vandalism (12 per cent) and discrimination by authorities in official buildings, workplaces, schools (10 per cent) written material (nine per cent), physical assault (eight per cent), multiple incident types in one case (eight per cent), non-verbal intimidation (six per cent) and other (two per cent).
The unique circumstances of the COVID-19 reporting period are also discussed in detail in the report.
With the release of the fourth report, the Register launches an innovative interactive map on Islamophobia in Australia (available on www.islamophobia.com.au) created by the Spatial Data Analysis Network and Charles Sturt University. It shows incidents reported to the Register between 2014 until 2021. This visual tool helps identify hotspots as well as common incident types.
Responses to the Report
Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, who has previously spoken of her own experiences of Islamophobia, has responded to the findings of this report by calling on the government to commit to concrete steps to combat Islamophobia.
“The extent of racism and hatred that Muslims in Australia face remains deeply concerning,” Senator Faruqi said. “For too long, Muslim women and children have borne the brunt of Islamophobia, often suffering long-term emotional harm. … The Labor government must commit to concrete responses to combat Islamophobia.”
Labor Party Senator Fatima Payman, who is the first hijab wearing Senator in Australia, labelled the report confronting.
“The fourth Islamophobia in Australia report is confronting, … however, I am optimistic this data will help our nation fight against this discrimination,” Senator Payman said. “I encourage anyone who experiences Islamophobia to take a stand and report the incident.”
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