The Effects Of Religious Discrimination In Australia

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Religious beliefs are an important aspect of many people’s lives. Results of the latest national census have revealed the religiously diverse nation that Australia has become (ABS 2017). The religious makeup of Australia has gradually changed over the past 50 years with Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam and Buddhism all increasingly common beliefs as can be seen in figure 1.

Religious discrimination is defined as the unfavourable treatment of a person because of his or her religious beliefs. Furthermore, this extends to involve mistreatment of someone due to their marriage to or association with an individual of a particular religion (EOC 2014; pers. comm. Cooper 2017).
Whilst Australia’s religious diversity begins to grow so too does the concern of the reported incidents of religious discrimination impacting the lives of people of many different religions in Australia. It is important to understand the impact this discrimination has in order to address the issue.

The Effect of Religious Discrimination in Australia
A decade-long national study conducted by the University of Western Sydney found that nearly half of Australians describe themselves as having anti-Muslim attitudes (Veiszadeh 2015). Islamophobia and alike attitudes can have deeply hurtful effects and create considerable fear within religious communities. It also may serve to erect barriers between different religious communities in Australia.
As Randa Abdel-Fattah said in her winning Victorian Premier’s Literary

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