Though instances of racism and discrimination against Muslims who live in Sydney are very high, they still believe that the practice of their religion is harmonious with living in the Australian community.
However, a recent study has found that there is no longer thought that Islam is a mixture of moderates and extremists at opposite ends of the scale. Instead, it is now felt that extremism relates to religious practice.
Currently, it is a widely held belief that Muslims who are dedicated to practising their religion are more inclined to becoming radicalised. However, the opposite seems to be the case, that as more Muslims know and practice their religion, the more they embrace the Australian way of life and reject radicalisation.
In the opinion of Counter Terrorism Expert, Greg Barton, there were more factors apart from the practice of religion that was more likely to lead to radical acts. People who feel they are failures or that their life is going nowhere – these are the people who will more likely turn to radicalism as a way of being seen, he feels. The recent study of the Muslim community in Sydney found there is Islamophobia in Australia, but there is little or no evidence of Muslims feeling rejected by the community. Many of those surveyed said they had been the subject of racist attacks at some time. However, even though there are high rates of discrimination, most Muslims in Sydney was not deterred in identifying themselves as Australian Muslims.
The main concerns of Muslims living in Australia relate to experiencing discrimination in the areas of education and employment –the same as other Australians. Australian Muslims feel they are generally welcomed in the community Islamophobia in Australia is often perpetuated in the media, through stereotyping Muslims as being violent. Islamophobia and discrimination towards Muslims have existed for many generations and can be seen in the White Australia Policy that restricted Muslim immigration to Australia between 1901 and 1975.
Some of these feelings are thought to be as a result of a lack of integration among Muslim migrants to the country. Because of this lack of understanding on the part of the community, they are seen as oppressors of women and as violent men who are inclined towards terrorism. The Australian media has been noted as negatively depicting the Muslim population.
The report of the Islamophobia Register of Australia released in 2017 cites various instances of vicious and violent abuse, intimidation and harassment, especially targeting veiled women, with more than 30 percent of these women having their children with them at the time of the incident. The report also found that instances of Islamophobia abuse increased when there were reports in the media of attacks by Islamic radicals, as well as media reports of these incidents acting to exacerbate these attitudes. Though most attacks take place in public places, bystanders intervened in less than 25 percent of cases.