A survey of nearly 600 Muslims in Sydney, commissioned by Western Sydney University, the Islamic Sciences and Research Academy Australia and Charles Sturt University, will be presented at the Australasian Conference on Islam on Monday.
The study found while there is Islamophobia in Australia, there is little evidence of widespread alienation among Australian Muslims.
Nearly two thirds of Muslims said they had been subjected to racism, with one in 10 reporting it happened “often or very often”.
CSU associate professor Mehmet Ozalp said despite the high rates of visible Islamophobia, Muslims in Sydney are “comfortable in identifying themselves as Australian Muslims”.
The main concerns of Australian Muslims are education and employment – just like the rest of the society, Ozalp said.
Australian Muslims have a very strong sense of belonging to Australia.
“They are comfortable in identifying themselves as Australian and Muslim,” he said in a statement.
Lead author Professor Kevin Dunn said the report indicates a strong sense of belonging in the Australian Muslim community.
“The fact that Muslims face high levels of racism, yet still believe Islam is compatible with Australian norms, bodes well for the future,” he said.
“It seems that Australia’s values of diversity and multiculturalism give hope to Australian Muslims, and makes them more resilient in dealing with the pressures of Islamophobia and racism.”
The study is an Australian first, unique in its scale, random sample and specific focus on Sydney’s Muslim population
Almost 350 Muslims were interviewed face-to-face at religious events, as well as 240 phone interviews.
CSU will co-host the conference in Parramatta on Monday to help provide insight into the problems surrounding radicalisation and Islamophobia.
MUSLIMS IN SYDNEY
* Face three times the level of discrimination
* 57 per cent experience racism
* 97 per cent agree with multicultural society
* Majority feel belonging to Australia
* 90 per cent say it’s important their children be accepted as Australians
* Two thirds mix socially with non-Muslims
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