Islamophobia Register Australia welcomes the landmark legislation in NSW prohibiting religious vilification, in the form of an amendment to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, that has finally been passed by the New South Wales parliament.

The law makes it unlawful to, “by a public act, incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons, because of their religious belief, affiliation or activity”.

Islamophobia Register Australia welcomes this much needed and long overdue move.

We believe that the Muslim community are particularly vulnerable to religious vilification because we are the second largest faith group in Australia following Christianity, and because such a large number of our community’s adherents are visibly Muslim.

Many Muslim women wear the hijab, and unfortunately, Islamophobia disproportionately affects women.

The Register’s latest Islamophobia in Australia report published in March 2023 in partnership with Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the Islamic Sciences Research Academy (ISRA) and authored by Dr Derya Iner, revealed that of all Australian states and territories, the highest number of Islamophobic incident reports came from New South Wales.

The report also revealed that 78% of victims of Islamophobic incidents were women.

Against this backdrop, this law is an important move. However, while we hope that this law will help to reduce instances of religious vilification in NSW, we are under no illusions that religious vilification will be eradicated.

We must continue to stay vigilant and continue to report incidents of Islamophobia in Australia.