A decade-long national study has found that nearly 50 per cent of Australians identify themselves as having anti-Muslim attitudes.
Researchers from universities across the country polled thousands of people about their attitudes to different cultures and whether they had experienced racism. The research found around one in 10 Australians identified themselves as prejudiced against other cultures.
About one-quarter of those surveyed said they had anti-Semitic or anti-Asian attitudes, while a slightly larger number were prejudiced against Aborigines. Anti-Muslim sentiment was even higher, at 48.6 per cent.
Lead researcher Professor Kevin Dunn from the University of Western Sydney says recent political rhetoric has not helped. “If you continue to speak about a group as a problem, whether that be asylum seekers or Muslims, that will [be] cast within the public mind,” he said.
See also Michael Brull, “Islamophobia, not Islam, is the real threat”, ABC Online, 23 February 2011