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Australians aren't as Islamophobic as we are led to believe

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Brendan McCarthy/AAP

Australian newspaper reportedfavour

More recently, another Essential poll found 41 per cent of those surveyed supported a Donald-Trump-style ban on people from Muslim countries entering Australia. Another 46 per cent opposed a ban and 14 per cent didn’t know.

Newspollsome Muslims

Anti-Muslim and anti-Islam attitudes displayed in these surveys are largely the result of increasing migration from Muslim-majority countries and fear of terrorism. All this has given rise to a new field of study relating to Islamophobia. Research in the US and Europe shows Islamophobia is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, which is not captured in single-item surveys.

For instance, another recent survey by the Pew Research Centre in the US found Australians welcomed diversity as much as Americans, despite some uncertainty over Muslim integration.

Read more: One in two favour Muslim immigration ban? Beware the survey panel given an all-or-nothing choice

Islamophobia

The resulting nuanced and comprehensive profile of Islamophobia in Australia actually showed few Australians are truly afraid of those of Muslim faith.

Islamophobia

reportIslamophobia

Bleichdefined Islamophobia

Multidimensionality makes Islamophobia a graded phenomenon with levels ranging low to high. Islamophobia scales have been developed to measure its prevalence in society.

Islamophobic

Islamophobia

Just to be safe it is important to stay away from places where Muslims could be.

I would feel comfortable speaking with a Muslim.

I would support any policy that will stop the building of a new mosque.

If I could, I would avoid contact with Muslims.

I would live in a place where there are Muslims.

Muslims should be allowed to work in places where many Australians gather such as airports.

If possible, I would avoid going to places where Muslims would be.

In questions one, three, four and seven, “strongly agree” and “agree” reflect anti-Islam attitudes. In the other three questions, the same responses reflect the opposite. We reversed the scores for items one, two, four and seven in order to compute the values ranging from one to five. One represents low levels of Islamophobia, while five is high.

These findings are reported in the table below.

Islamophobic

Islamophobic

Islamophobia

Islamophobialabour-force

IslamophobiaIslamophobic

IslamophobiclabourIslamophobia

Islamophobic

Islamophobic

Riaz HassanFlinders University

The Conversationoriginal article

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