Islamophobia report reveals female targets

28 August 2017

The Victorian Multicultural Commission has recently launched a ground-breaking report revealing the real victims of islamophobia in Australia.

The first of its kind in Australia, ‘Islamophobia in Australia 2014-2016’ is an analysis of 243 verified incidents reported to the Islamophobia Register Australia between September 2014 and December 2015, compiled in partnership with the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation at Charles Sturt University.

Results of the report, which may only represent the tip of the iceberg, found the main targets of Islamophobia are women and 79.6% of female victims wore Islamic head coverings. One in three of the female victims also had their children with them at the time of the reported incident, while 98% of perpetrators were identified as ethnically Anglo-Celtic (as indicated by the reporter), and the typical perpetrator tended to be male.

Of these incidents, which included verbal threats, physical assaults occurred mostly in New South Wales (60%) and Victoria (26.7%).

The report found 48% of total physical attacks also occurred in crowded public spaces – most commonly in shopping centres, train stations and mosque surroundings. The research also revealed compelling evidence around bystander behaviour, 25% of witness reporters were non-Muslim and no bystander intervention was recorded in 75% of the reported incidents.

Victorian Multicultural Commission Chairperson, Helen Kapalos, officially launched the report on Monday 10 July 2017 at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) of Deakin University, speaking alongside Charles Sturt University’s principle researcher and editor of the report Dr Derya Iner, Founder of the Islamophobia Register of Australia Mariam Veisadeh, Islamic Sciences and Research Academy of Australia’s Omer Atilla Ergi and ADI’s Director Professor Fethi Mansouri.

"The report offers a window into the types of religiously motivated Islamophobic incidents taking place out in suburban Australia and its release is especially timely as there is a continuing debate over the existence and the scale of Islamophobia in Australia" said Mariam Veiszadeh.

Ms Kapalos said that the register’s data, highlighted in the report, laid out the work ahead and the need to empower communities to create social change.

“As this research shows, the work is complex, yet the solutions also partly lie with us – to mobilise our consciousness to help those in need, those whose voices are suppressed, whose actions are suppressed, and those who have been forced to live in fear, because of society’s ill-founded fear,” said Ms Kapalos.

“The more we can empower our communities with the truth of things, the more we will move towards common ground. This report gives us a solid base in which to commence this work." she said.

Read more about the findings of the report.

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