Examining Islamophobia in Australia: a quantitative study of the Australian public opinion

Stream: Panel 7 - Australian Politics / Media & Politics: Public Opinion in Australia 
Date: Monday, 26 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm

Abstract

This paper presents the results of an investigation of Islamophobia in Australia. We added a set of items to the 2016 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) to investigate whether Australians have more negative views of Muslims and Islam compared to other religions, and whether those negative views are associated with factors like perceived threat (from terrorism, material, symbolic and criminal), intergroup contact and knowledge of Islam. Specifically, we investigated the differences between the self-reported knowledge of Islam (i.e. how much individuals think they know about Islam) and the actual level of knowledge of Islam (i.e. how many correct answers they give to a questionnaire about Islamic religion and its differences with other Abrahamic religions). Moreover, we investigated whether and to what extent individuals had misconceptions about the proportion of Muslims in Australia, the level of violence against women in Muslim communities and the proportion of Muslim asylum seekers. We in fact hypothesized that low levels of knowledge about Islam, stereotypization of Muslim males and exaggerate perception of the presence of Muslims in Australia (i.e. a “siege syndrome”) are associated with Islamophobia.

Authors

Matteo Vergani (Presenter), Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation

Fethi Mansouri, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation