Women Bear The Brunt Of Islamophobia In Australia

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Imagine feeling unsafe in your own neighbourhood as strangers film you walking down the street. Or being ridiculed for eating halal food, or being sent death threats because you wear a hijab. These are the daily realities for many Muslim women, as a new study unveils the gendered nature of Islamophobia in Australia.
The Islamophobia Register Australia’s flagship research report released this week has revealed that 78% of victims of Islamophobia were women, while the majority of perpetrators were men (70%).
The report, compiled in conjunction with Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Islamic Science and Research Academy (ISRA), covered the 2020-2021 reporting period, as well as reported experiences of Islamophobia since the Register launched in 2014. This covered 930 verified events (515 offline and 415 online), and in analysing the data over eight years, showed how Islamophobia has manifested in Australia over time.
During this period, verbal intimidation was the most common form of abuse (45%), followed by graffiti and vandalism (12%), and discrimination by authorities in official buildings, workplaces and schools (10%).
The report indicated that women and children continue to bear the brunt of the abuse, with misogynist foul language and comments hurled towards hijabi women "for submitting to a so-called misogynist religious dogma".
Two in ten children and three in ten vulnerable victims (other than children) were exposed to a physical attack, while half the female victims were alone and one in five women were with children.
"It's clear from this report that there is an urgent need to activate bystanders, both in the real world and online," Sharara Attai, Executive Director of Islamophobia Register Australia, said in an official press statement, noting that there was a fall in witness reporting.
"What’s also troubling is that this report reinforces the fact that Islamophobia disproportionately affects Muslim women."
Attai said government action is required to "ensure greater safeguards for Muslims in Australia", a point which Deputy Greens Leader, Senator Mehreen Faruqi agrees with.
"For too long, Muslim women and children have borne the brunt of Islamophobia, often suffering long-term emotional harm," said Faruqi.
With policy improvements, and more bystanders calling out Islamophobia when they see it, let's hope these disappointing numbers are a rarity in the future.
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