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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 07:28 GMT
Anti-Muslim shift in Australia
By Dominic Hughes
BBC correspondent in Sydney

A new study has revealed a pattern of growing Islamaphobia in Australia.

In a survey of more than 5,000 Australians, researchers found that while there is persistent intolerance directed at aboriginal and Jewish Australians, anti-Muslim sentiment is also very strong.

The study identified Muslims as one of the country's most marginalised religious and ethnic groups, with many Australians believing Muslims and people from the Middle East were unable to fit in to Australia.

Muslims women in Sydney
Many said Muslims did not fit in
More than half of those surveyed said they would be concerned if a relative married a Muslim.

About 45% said some cultural groups did not belong in Australia, and almost half believed Australia was weakened by people of different ethnic origins sticking to their old ways.

Dr Kevin Dunn from the University of New South Wales, who will present the findings at a Sydney conference on immigration, blames media representations of Muslims and western antipathy towards Islam.

He says Muslims suffer from stereotypes of Islamic misogyny and sexism.

Dr Dunn conducted similar research in the mid-1990s, which found that negative attitudes at that time were directed mostly towards people from South East Asia and China.





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