Preliminary results from the first 2016 wave of the AuSSA survey indicate that the more Australians know about Islam, the less prejudice they have against practicing Muslims.
First, we measured how much participants were concerned of Muslim, and we found that Islamophobia exists in Australia.
Second, we measured both self-reported knowledge of Islam and factual knowledge of Islam. Specifically, we asked: “how much do you think you know about Islam?”, but we also asked five factual questions about the religion, for example: “Is Jesus a revered Prophet in Islam?”
Unsurprisingly, knowing about Islam and thinking to know about Islam were not the same. In fact, the people who knew more about Islam indicated less prejudice against practicing Muslims, but not the people who thought they knew about Islam. Similarly, knowing more Muslims (for example at work, or at school) was associated with less prejudice against Muslims.
Moreover, we also measured the perceived threat of terrorism, and we found that the people who were more concerned of terrorism were also more concerned about practicing Muslims.
The research, that I conducted with Prof. Fethi Mansouri, is part of the ongoing “Muslims and Islamic Religiosity in the West” ARC research project. You can find the official press release on the website of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation.