By Kaitlin Junod
Rabat – Muslims in Australia are more likely to face discrimination, making Muslim youth more vulnerable to radicalization, according to a recent study in Sydney. The study found that of 600 Muslims surveyed, 57 percent had experienced racism.
Conducted by professors at Western Sydney and Charles Sturt universities and the Islamic Sciences and Research Academy, the study also found that:
– 62 percent experienced racism in the workplace or when seeking employment
– 1 in 10 had “very high” rates of exposure to racism
– The unemployment rate among those surveyed was 8.5 percent, higher than the general Sydney population, which is 3.7 percent
“One of the things that does wind up alienating some youth is the extent to which anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic diatribe, hate crimes, attacks on mosques makes people feel alienated and marginalized from society,” said Professor Kevin Dunn of Western Sydney University and lead author of the study.
However, 86 percent thought that relations between Australian Muslims and non-Muslims were friendly. Additionally, two thirds said they frequently mix with non-Muslims, challenging the assumption that Muslims in Australia self-segregate, said Dunn.
In fact, 90 percent of the Muslims surveyed said it was very important for their children to be fully accepted as Australians. And it seems that acceptance is the key to fighting the rise of extremist groups.
Recent protests against mosques and multiculturalism only fuel the message of Islamic State, said Professor Greg Barton of Deakin University, a terrorism expert.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has done a good job of promoting inclusiveness, especially in the wake of October’s Parramatta shooting, Barton said.
Following the attack in which a 15-year-old boy killed a police employee, Turnbull said, “We must not vilify or blame the entire Muslim community with the actions of what is, in truth, a very, very small percentage of violent extremist individuals.”