We are just past mid-way through the year, and it is an opportune time to pause and take stock of the current situation of Islamophobia in Australia.
At the Register, we are continuing to receive concerning and disturbing reports of Islamophobia from around the country.
In Victoria, for example, we received a report of a man walking into a mosque holding a plate of human faeces and placing it in the ablution room within the mosque.
In Western Australia, a Muslim woman was shouted at and spat on. In South Australia, a woman was subjected to vile abuse by a customer at work.
These are just some examples of the different types of reports that we have received, and why the Register’s multi-faceted approach to tackling Islamophobia is so important.
Our work involves offering victim support services such as legal referrals for pro bono legal advice, culturally sensitive mental health referrals and advocacy to victims.
Beyond this, we also raise awareness around Islamophobia and advocate for greater protections against Islamophobia. In this vain, the Register is now formally engaging in law reform work to stand up for the Muslim community’s rights.
For example, this month, the Register made submissions to the parliamentary committee inquiry on the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023 where we raised concerns about proposed laws which could effectively result in banning the public display of certain holy phrases in Islam in certain circumstances, due to the adoption of those phrases by a terrorist group on their flag.
The NSW government has also recently released a bill seeking to legislate protections against religious vilification and the Register intends to formally weigh in on this too.
Additionally, the Register has recently published resources to aid Muslim students and Muslim employees in seeking reasonable adjustments for their religious practice at school and at work here.
At the Register, we take pride in serving and benefitting the Muslim community and we ask the Muslim community to assist us in our mission of tracking and tackling Islamophobia by continuing to report Islamophobic incidents and Islamophobic content to us.
Any Islamophobic incident or content, whether in real life or online, whether a major incident or a seemingly minor one, should be reported. In fact, the importance of capturing data on incidents that are seemingly minor or ‘run of the mill’ cannot be overstated.
This kind of data is largely missing, and it is precisely the (disturbing) ‘ordinariness’ of these incidents that needs to be captured and highlighted. The better we can track
Islamophobia, the better we can tackle it and serve the Muslim community.
If you experience or witness Islamophobia, please report it to the Register: Report an incident –Islamophobia Register Australia.