Tag: Racism in Australia

“Australia as a nation utterly rejects racism and religious discrimination of any kind.”

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Federal Government appalled at rising ‘examples of discrimination against Muslim Australians’ contained in a report released by the Charles Sturt University

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 18 November: The Federal Government has slammed the incidents of Islamophobia in Australia, calling them ‘completely unacceptable’. A media statement today from The Hon David Coleman MP Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs refers to the report (Islamophobia in Australia-2- 2016-2017) released by the Charles Sturt University today.

The 2019 Islamophobia in Australia report suggests that hate incidents are not just a problem for Muslims, but will need national engagement if Australia is to maintain social cohesion and live up to its multicultural legacy.

- The second Islamophobia in Australia report cites 349 incidents reported in 24 months (2016-17)
- This and previous reports indicate only the ‘tip of an iceberg’, as under-reporting of hate crimes and related incidents is an ongoing problem worldwide
- Islamophobia is not just a problem for Muslims but requires national engagement if Australia is to maintain social cohesion

The 2019 Islamophobia in Australia report suggests that hate incidents are not just a problem for Muslims, but will need national engagement if Australia is to maintain social cohesion and live up to its multicultural legacy.

The report, which was led by chief investigator Dr. Derya Iner from Charles Sturt University’s Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation, offers a multi-faceted analysis of verified incidents reported to the Islamophobia Register Australia by victims, proxies, and witnesses in the two-year period of 2016-17.

A news report on the CSU website says, “The report shows predominantly Muslim women and girls are being targeted with verbal abuse, profanities, physical intimidation and death threats in public places, most often while shopping, and most often by Anglo-Celtic male perpetrators.

Insults targeting Muslims’ religious appearance and religion was the highest in both reports online and offline, with almost all women respondents (96 percent) targeted while wearing hijab.”

It adds, “The situation for Muslim children was particularly concerning and underscores the need for prevention strategies in schools.

The report shows that experiences of Islamophobic abuse start for children in pre-school years when they were accompanied by their identifiably Muslim parents.”

Intensity of hate rhetoric

The report shows the alarming intensity of hate rhetoric that groomed the Christchurch terrorist who carried out terrorist attacks in New Zealand earlier this year, as active in Australia three to five years ago.

Online and offline, people have detailed how they would like to murder all Muslims and yet there appeared to be no investigation or prosecution, raising serious questions about the fitness of existing laws.

Following the previous report’s trend, the most severe level of hate, wanting to kill and/or harm Muslims, was the most dominant rhetoric, consisting of one-quarter of the entire online cases.

Online, there were dynamics of contagion at play with online communities reacting to the perpetrator’s posts with supportive emojis, comments, and shares.

Sadly, the intensity of hate rhetoric was also present in physical cases, with 11 percent of the 202 offline cases including death threats.

The fact some Australian Muslims could not go about their ordinary life without receiving a death threat from a stranger opens serious questions about how Muslim identity has been publicly crafted.

‘Tip of the iceberg’

Dr. Iner noted that the number of incidents discloses only the ‘tip of an iceberg’, as under-reporting of hate crimes and related incidents is an ongoing problem worldwide.

“This is especially the case where continuous anti-Muslim sentiment in political and media discourse becomes normalized, desensitizing the public,” she said.

“With Christchurch in our minds, we cannot afford to be complacent.

“Social cohesion is something that must be nurtured and repaired by all of us for the well-being and security of Australia.”

The Hon David Coleman MP says, “Freedom of religion is fundamental to Australian society. Australians of all religions should be able to practice their faith free of prejudice. The instances of discrimination against Australians of Islamic faith which are documented in the report are completely unacceptable.

The Morrison Government has no tolerance for racial or cultural prejudice against any group. In this year’s Budget, the Government invested $71 million into a package of measures designed to strengthen our social cohesion.

The behavior outlined in the report is condemned in the strongest terms – Australia as a nation utterly rejects racism and religious discrimination of any kind.”

Dr. Sharif As-Saber, Associate Professor at RMIT University and a Member of the Victorian South Asian Communities Ministerial Advisory Council says,” Unfortunately, Australia is not immune from various forms of discriminations, abuses and vilifications. Religious and racial discriminations including hate crimes are just a few of them. It is better to acknowledge the reality while there should be concerted efforts by the governments and various community groups and religious leaders to combat and mitigate such problems. In other words, ‘engagement’ is important!”

The Islamophobia Register Australia is launching a crowdfunding campaign as it relies on community funds to maintain its independence. The next report will include data from before and after the Christchurch tragedy.

Copies of the report are available at www.islamophobia.com.au.

Vic: Racism at work,street,public transport…

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The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission today launched a report that has found racism is a daily event in the lives of many Victorians and calls for all Victorians to do more to stand up to hate.

Commission research on the nature and extent of racism in Victoria, which includes evidence from an online survey, interviews with community stakeholders and a review of online content, confirms existing research that says most people do not report seeing or experiencing racism because they don’t know where to report it, are fearful of reprisals or they don’t think anything would be done about it.

The areas where most survey participants witnessed or experienced racism was at work (32%), on the street (31%), on public transport (15%), followed by racism in connection with a service provider (such as a hospital or a shop), and sporting events.

Acting Commissioner Karen Toohey said racism can include a broad spectrum of behaviour from low-level incidents, such as offensive gestures or name calling to physical assaults.

“Racism can undermine an individual’s sense of self-worth, leave them feeling vulnerable and isolated, and affect their mental and physical health,” said Ms Toohey.
Karen Toohey said that some people think racism doesn’t happen anymore, or that it is a rare or isolated incident. However, this report clearly shows that for some people, racism is a fact of life.

“It is hard to believe that in modern Australia people are still refused service in a shop because of their skin colour or are subject to racial abuse because of their religious dress, but that is reality,” Ms Toohey said.

“For many people, it is the daily, sometimes unconscious but persistent racism they face that has the most profound impact. These subtle, low-level acts create an environment incrementally and over time, where racism can escalate.”

“We also know that racism and crimes motivated by hate harm individual health and wellbeing, for victims and bystanders. It creates fear and isolation for communities and is bad for our economy.

Reporting racism found that racism is increasingly prevalent in online environments, especially through email and social media, both by individuals and organised groups.
“While social media has been identified as a site for racial and religious hate, it can also be part of the solution when it comes to providing strong examples of community members intervening and standing up to racist views,” Ms Toohey said.

“We are calling on the community to report hate and we want to get the message out there that there are services and strategies in place to help.
Actions identified to fight hate include the Commission’s Anti-Hate campaign, which includes a website that encourages people to share their stories of confronting racism and supporting bystanders and developing community awareness education programs.

“Many of us wish we knew who to tell and how to respond to racial prejudice in a safe and appropriate way. Anti-Hate provides people with the information and tactics they need to take action when they see or experience racism,” Ms Toohey said.

“The Commission is currently working with Victoria Police under their Prejudice Motivated Crime Strategy to improve awareness of prejudice and racism occurring throughout community and to increase the reporting to police of crimes motivated by prejudice,” Ms Toohey said.

For more information about Anti-Hate, please visit www.antihate.vic.gov.au
SOURCE: http://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/

- View the report online (http://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/media/k2/attachments/Reporting_Racism_Web_low_res.pdf)