World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Islamophobia in Australia

Article Id: WHEBN0044931566
Reproduction Date:

Title: Islamophobia in Australia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Islam in Australia, Islamophobia, Islamophobia in Canada, Bosnian Genocide, Islamophobia in the United States
Collection: Opposition to Islam in Australia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Islamophobia in Australia

Part of a series on
Islam in Australia


Early history
Makasan contact
Afghan cameleers
Battle of Broken Hill
Contemporary society
Halal certification in Australia
Islamophobia in Australia


List of mosques
Auburn Gallipoli Mosque · Central Adelaide
 • Lakemba Mosque ·
Marree Mosque


Islamic organisations in Australia


Afghan • Albanian • Arab • Bangladeshi
Bosnian • Indian • Indonesian • Iranian
Iraqi • Lebanese • Malay • Pakistani •

Notable Australian muslims
Grand Mufti of Australia
Taj El-Din Hilaly • Fehmi Naji •
Ibrahim Abu Mohamed

Islamophobia in Australia is a trend towards anti-Muslim prejudice in Australian society, where hostility towards Islam occurs; it is usually associated with hostile and discriminatory practices towards Muslim individuals or communities and the exclusion of Muslims in social, cultural and political affairs.[1]

Islamophobia and racism towards Arabs and Muslims occurred prior to the September 11 attacks on the United States;[2] racism previously directed towards other migrant groups became re-focused at Muslims. From the late 1980s to the early 2000s, Australian racism turned from being anti-Asian to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim; this trend followed the increased immigration and settling of Arabs and Muslims in Australia.[2]

Racism and Islamophobia has a particular effect on Muslim women and Muslim women activists leading to significant obstacles for Muslim women's activism.[3]


  • Definition 1
    • Theories 1.1
  • Incidence 2
    • Incidents of Islamophobia 2.1
      • First Gulf War (1990s) 2.1.1
      • Opposition to Halal certification (2014) 2.1.2
  • Responses 3
    • Legislation 3.1
  • Criticism of term and use 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


Islamophobia in Australia is understood as a set of negative beliefs concerning Arabs and Muslims as well as a contemporary outlet for general public anger and resentment towards migration and multiculturalism.


Anti-Muslim prejudices are thought to be sourced in perceptions of a lack of integration among Muslim migrants, and reconfiguration of community and ethnic politics.[2]

Lack of ethical standards in Australian media have contributed to negative stereotyping of Muslims. Muslims were reduced to caricatures of misogynists and oppressed women; violent men were thought as inclined to terrorism. The Australian media is noted for presenting portrayals of Muslim immigrants in a biased manner, although in comparison to other Western countries, Australian media exhibits less bias as a result of its coverage of the everyday life of Australian Muslims.[4]

According to some scholars, public discourse reifying negative images of Islamic culture result in an unfounded fear of actual Muslims;[5] public discourse focusing on the Western values of women's rights enabled Islam and Islamic clerics to be portrayed as misogynist and oppressive towards women.[6]

Some theorists maintain that, increasingly since 11 September 2001, the Australian public has attributed Australian Muslims with a sense of "otherness," using social constructions and generic misrepresentations of Muslims as a way to regain existential control in a post-9/11 world.[7]

Some scholars have argued that the rise of militant Islam in Australia has led to the increase in Islamophobia and undone efforts by Muslims to foster positive relations with the Australian public.[8]


Estimates of the prevalence of anti-Muslim sentiment in Australia differ. A large-scale poll published in 2011 found that 48.6 percent of Australians had a negative opinion of Islam.[9] Another survey published in 2014 found that a quarter of Australians held anti-Muslim views; this incidence was five times higher than that for any other religion.[10] The latter survey also found that 27 percent of Muslim Australians have experienced discrimination, which was also the highest of any of the religions covered in the study.[11]

Incidents of Islamophobia

First Gulf War (1990s)

During the First Gulf War, the Muslims experienced a number of racist attacks, in some cases these incidents turned to violence against Arabs and Muslims. These incidents included attacks on Arabs or Muslims and Arab or Muslim property; Arab-owned shops were looted and vandalised and Islamic institutions received bomb threats. People with the surname "Hussein" received harassment calls. The Muslim community also dealt with stigmatisation as a result of ASIO's anti-terror efforts. The Australian media had reported that based on ASIO intelligence, New South Wales would be the target of a terrorist attack. In a counterterrorism effort, a number of Arabs and Muslims, including a number if political activists were visited by ASIO personnel; ASIO also conducted a number of wiretaps on Arab and Muslim Australians. No such attack did occur, although, the Jewish community experienced a number of racist attacks. Initially, Muslims were blamed for the attacks on the Jewish institutions, however, the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board concluded that there was insufficient evidence that Muslims were behind the attack.

Opposition to Halal certification (2014)

In 2014 anti-Islam groups campaigned against Australian food companies in an attempt to discourage them from having their food certified as being halal. The groups argued that the cost of certification increases the prices of food to all consumers, and that the fees charged for certification are used to fund terrorism.[12][13] In November 2014 Fleurieu Milk & Yoghurt Company decided to stop producing halal products after being targeted by campaigners, and a number of other large and small companies were also reported to have been targeted.[14] Keysar Trad from the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils told a journalist in July 2014 that these groups were attempting to exploit anti-Muslim sentiments.[12]


In 2014, filmmaker Kamal Saleh orchestrated a social experiment to test how Australians would react if they witnessed a Muslim person being abused. In one scene a woman in a hijab is being harassed by a young man; in another it is a young boy who is the target of the discriminatory abuse. Saleh's film showed the non-Muslim Australians standing up to the abuse and defending the Muslim victim.[15]

Following the 2014 Martin Place siege where an Iranian-Australian gunman took 17 hostages resulting in his death and the deaths of two hostages, a social media campaign in support of Australian Muslims was launched using the hashtag "#illridewithyou" to assist Muslims who may feel intimidated to use public transportation.[16]


Discriminatory acts against Muslims is prohibited under Australian law, both on a state and federal level. Some acts of legislation include:

Critics maintain that legislation concerning islamophobia and have been too restrictive in their development, and the state's response to discriminatory practices against Arabs and Muslims have been too slow.[1][17]

Protesters have been critical of discrimination in the workforce by Muslims in circumstances that relate to religious based employment positions, however all states provide for exceptions to their respective laws regarding discrimination where discrimination occurs for religious purposes.[18][19]

Criticism of term and use

The term and its use, is criticised. Professor of Psychology, Nick Haslam from the University of Melbourne says the use of this type of word, "brushes aside opinions we dislike by invalidating the people who hold them ... and closes the door on dialogue".[20]

Professor of Sociology, Clive Kessler from the University of New South Wales has said the term Islamophobia is used to dismiss criticism[21] and is used a rhetorical device, as a “moral bludgeon" where,

"The term Islamophobia is made to serve as a silencing device, and barrier to necessary public democratic discussion, because, once you term it a “phobia”, then those at whom its use is directed, together with their views as well as their basic motivation and intentions, are simply “sick” . . . . You can make political capital, to advance you own cause, on the basis of their imputed moral unacceptability, their evil character. You don’t ever have to argue your own case and position. You just declare and brand your adversaries morally “benighted”. Economically. With one powerful word or slogan".[22]

Brian McNair, Professor of Journalism, Media and Communication at Queensland University of Technology writing in The Conversation in support of, "legitimate and increasingly necessary" open discussion about Islam says, "critiquing Islam [is not] Islamophobia [or] racism [nor is it] anti-Muslim."[23]

See also


  1. ^ a b Bloul, Rachel AD (2003). "Islamophobia and anti-discrimination laws: ethnoreligion as a legal category in the UK and Australia". 
  2. ^ a b c Poynting, Scott; Mason, Victoria (March 2007). "The resistible rise of Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim racism in the UK and Australia before 11 September 2001".  
  3. ^ Povey, Tara. "Islamophobia and Arab and Muslim Women's Activism." Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 1, no. 2 (2009): 63-76.
  4. ^ Gardner, Rod; Karakaşoğlus, Yasemin; Luchtenberg, Sigrid (2008). "Islamophobia in the media: a response from multicultural education 1". Intercultural Education ( 
  5. ^  
  6. ^ Ho, Christina (July–August 2007). "Muslim women's new defenders: Women's rights, nationalism and Islamophobia in contemporary Australia".  
  7. ^ Saniotis, Arthur (2004). "'"Embodying ambivalence: Muslim Australians as 'other. Journal of Australian Studies, special issue: Colour (  Online version.
  8. ^ Akbarzadeh, Shahran (26 June 2004). "Australian Jihadist fuelling Islamophobia".  
  9. ^ "Nearly half of Australians are anti-Muslim: study". ABC News. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Chalkley-Rhoden, Stephanie (29 October 2014). "One in four Australians has negative attitude towards Muslims: report". ABC News. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Markus, Andrew. "Mapping Social Cohesion: The Scanlon Foundation surveys 2014" (PDF). Scanlon Foundation, Australian Multicultural Foundation and Monash University. p. 24. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Masanauskas, John (18 July 2014). "Halal food outrage from anti-Islam critics". Herald Sun. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Mann, Alex (20 November 2014). "Why are some Australians campaigning against Halal and what's its effect?". 7:30 Report. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Ma, Wenlei; AAP (12 November 2014). "Halal conspiracy theorists bullying Australian businesses". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  15. ^ RITA PANAHI. "‘Muslim hate in Australia’ social experiment will make you proud." HERALD SUN. OCTOBER 07, 2014
  16. ^ "Martin Place Siege illridewithyou hashtag goes viral." Sydney Mornjng Herald. 16 December 2014.
  17. ^ Bloul, Rachel AD. "Anti-discrimination laws, Islamophobia, and ethnicization of Muslim identities in Europe and Australia." Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 28, no. 1 (2008): 7-25.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Justifications for laws that interfere with freedom of religion - ALRC". 
  20. ^ Haslam, Nick (17 December 2008). "Bigots are just sick at heart".  
  21. ^ Kessler, Clive (11 January 2015). "Islamophobia: The Origins of the Specious". Quadrant. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  22. ^ Kessler, Clive (11 January 2015). "The Innocence of Muslims: Islam and Multiculturalism". Quadrant. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  23. ^ McNair, Brian (20 April 2015). "Islam and the media – let’s not fear open debate".  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.