The Islamophobia Report

The #IslamophobiaReport was released in July 2017 by the Islamophobia Register of Australia in partnership with the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation,- Charles Sturt University - CSU , ISRA Australia, Deakin University, Diversity Council Australia & The University of Western Australia

The report provides quantitative data that verifies what many of us have known for many years - that Islamophobia is real and just not "imaginary" or a made up phenonemon.

It documented more than 240 Islamophobic incidents over 15 months in Australia with a large number occurring in public places.  The study of online and offline incidents also found people intervened in incidents perpetrated in public places at very low rates. The research shows that intervention from passers-by is rare, despite around half of all incidents taking place in public places such as shopping centres and train stations.

The data also suggested women were being targeted for abuse because they were both highly visible when wearing head scarfs and less likely to retaliate.

There where 28 incidents of physical violence recorded, the second most common incident next to verbal abuse or threats which includes all online incidents.

Females who were accompanied by children or pregnant further increased the chances of becoming a target of an Islamophobic attack.

The perpetrators are most often male, of Anglo-Celtic background and by themselves when incidents occur.

The report found 79.6 per cent of women abused were wearing a head covering, and more than 30 per cent were accompanied by their children.

Children also appear to be at risk of being targeted, with one woman describing how a neighbour came to her door and verbally assaulted her and her baby.

One case study that was reported by SBS was the story of Sydney mother-of-two Gada Omar, who was verbally threatened by a group of men while sitting with two friends in a shopping centre in the Sydney suburb of Rouse Hill.

"There were lots of people around," she said.

"And all of a sudden we hear a guy say, 'Have you seen how many effing Muslims there are?'"

"We looked up and there were five guys standing over us, they were probably in their early 20s. They said to us, 'Do you know what a crow bar looks like?'"

Ms Omar said she now avoids Rouse Hill after dark. The incident also had an impact on her 13-year-old son.

"He doesn't like going after dark to certain areas, he just panics," Ms Omar said. "He gets scared where he feels there might be gangs and they might target us because I'm a Muslim."

"My kids don't feel safe in their own country."

Ms Omar reported the incident to police, which made her case unusual. According to the study, only 31.8 per cent of offline attacks were reported to the police, and of those, just a third were formally recorded.

According to Mehmet Ozalp, Associate Professor in Islamic Studies, Director of The Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation, Charles Sturt University, "The report is an opportunity to openly discuss Islamophobia so that strategies could be developed to counter it as a national threat and societal problem.... Ignoring Islamophobia will only entrench the problem more deeply."


Key Findings
• Australian Muslim women who ventured out on their own were almost three times more likely �to face harassment of an islamophobic nature.
• Women, especially those with Islamic head covering (79.6% of the female victims), have been the main targets of Islamophobia
• More than 30% of the female victims had their children with them at the time of the reported incident.
• Most reported physical assaults occurred in NSW (60%) and VIC (26.7%).
• QLD had notably higher levels of reported incidents considering the relative small population of Muslims.
• 48% of offline attacks occurred in crowded spaces that were frequented daily - shopping centres, train stations and mosque surroundings were the most common.
• Non-Muslims constituted about 25% of the witness reporters.
• Nobody intervened in 75% of the reported incidents.

The report covers:
Section I: Institutional Islamophobia
Part 1: Islamophobia and Religion, Assoc. Prof Clive Pearson
Part 2: Political Islamophobia, Prof Linda Briskman and Susie Latham
Part 3: The Islamophobic Crimes of the Past and Present, Prof Scott Poynting
Part 4: The Media and Islamophobia in Australia, Dr Zachariah Matthews
Section II: Individual Islamophobia
Part 1: Analysis of Islamophobia Register Australia Data 2014-2015, Dr Derya Iner, Iman Zayied and Dr Matteo Vergani
Part 2: Case Studies, Dr Ghena Krayem
Part 3: Countering Islamophobia, Prof Samina Yasmeen

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