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50 pc Aussies anti-Muslim, 25 pc racist towards Asians: Poll

Last updated on: February 23, 2011 11:52 IST

Study conducted by leading Australian universities

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Almost half of Australians have anti-Muslim sentiments, while nearly 24 per cent have a negative attitude towards Asians, the biggest survey ever done on racism in the country has revealed. 

Among the 12,512 people surveyed across Australia, 48.6 per cent were negative towards Muslims, Asians (23.8 per cent), indigenous Australians (27.9 per cent), Jews (23.3) and black Africans (27 per cent), News.com.au quoted the 12-year survey, conducted by leading universities, as saying.

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Image: A protest underway against the attacks on Indian students in Australia
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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New South Wales, Queensland most racist states

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The survey also found 84 per cent of people had seen evidence of racial prejudice. It, however, found that New South Wales and Queensland to be the most racist states, while Victoria was one of the most tolerant.

"An important finding of the Challenging Racism Project is that Australians are in large part secure with cultural differences. However, there are still pockets of the country that hold on to 'old-fashioned' racist views," the report states
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Image: An ethnic Chinese cleaner scrubs off anti-racist slogans scribbled on the street by protesting students in Sydney
Photographs: Reuters
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'Anti-Muslims feelings a result of international politics, media hype'

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The survey's lead researcher Professor Kevin Dunn has said the high levels of anti-Muslim feelings in Australia were a result of an 'accumulation of international political events, poorly-informed public debates and sensationalist media treatment'.

When the respondents were asked about their views on immigration, over 40 per cent said they believe that "Australia is weakened by people of different ethnic origins sticking to their old ways".

The survey's co-author Dr Yin Paradies, from the University of Melbourne, said that racism against minorities was most common in areas that were more highly populated by those minorities.

Image: A Muslim woman from Sydney participates in a peace rally condemning racism
Photographs: Reuters
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'86 pc Australians want to fight racism'

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There is a general finding across the world that ethnic density tends to be related to levels of racism, but not always. The inner Melbourne suburbs tended to have very tolerant attitudes, but there is quite a bit of ethnic diversity there," he added. 

Prof Dunn, however, insisted that multiculturalism had been successful in Australia, adding, "About 87 per cent of Australians say that they see cultural diversity as a good thing for society and about 86 per cent say they want something done about racism. So that tells me that multiculturalism has worked." 

In the past recent years, Indian students were largely targeted in Australia, which had led to huge protests in both the countries.
 

Image: Anti-racism sentiments are growing among Australians
Photographs: David Gray/Reuters
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Source: ANI