TASK 2- ESSAY
Submitted by- Samjhana Giri
Student ID- 1107384
Bachelor of Social Work
Submitted to- Dr. Cate Morris
How does religious bias shape and influence social and/or cultural inclusion? Critically
analyse the nature and extent of Islamophobia in Australia in comparison to one other
country. Use examples to highlight current issues.
Racism in the form of Islamophobia is a social issue against humanity which is still prevalent all over the world. Islamophobia is described as racism discriminating Islam and Muslims community with negative attitudes and emotions (Coch, 2017). This essay will address the current structures of Islamophobia in Australia particularly. Moreover, this essay further discusses about the cause of this social crime, discrimination and professional practice for these debates.
Islam is a religion which has a huge population across the world. Islam is the third largest religion in Australia but represents only 2 percent of the population of Australia (Saeed, 2004). Even though the Muslim holds varieties of culture either positive or negative, but it is fact that these diversities groups are misbelieved as community that hamper the world. There are lots of debates like Banning Burkha, controlling Mosques and different others are going over and against the Muslim communities. Talking about Australia, controlling mosques and banning burkha are heavily promoted and are the most common issues. Muslim women have culture of wearing clothes like burkas, hijib, dupatta etc considering them as a ritual. Islamisation of society and as a feminist issue (Sayyid, 2011). In general, wearing burkha is the desire of women’s choice of clothes and spreading misconception of othering among crowd. The debate of banning burkha in Australia was seen by the different incidents (Barker, 2012). According to Barker (2012), at district court trial in 2010 in western Australia a woman requested to give evidence by wearing her niqab to protect her self-respect which made the lawmakers think twice and address the burning issue. Therefore, the NSW Government passed the identification legislation amendment act 2011 on 15th of September 2011that grants authority for police to require people to remove full face coverings (Barker, 2012). However, Islam community do not take these kinds of demands of erasing burkas as positive attempt but instead they take it as a step to eradicate Muslims presence from public life (Sayyid, 2011). Similarly, the controls over Mosque has been a popular controversy and a burning issue in Australia and all over the world (Richardson, 2014). Muslims are demanding to build Mosques while different other Australian parties and communities are demanding for its ban. With the motive to combat extremism in Australia a party named ‘love Australia or leave party’ demanded for control of Mosque, prayer halls and Islamic documents in 2015 by forming a government body in Australia (Love Australia or Leave Party. 2015). This demand has been growingly massively because there are many news and reports that Mosques are the home for terrorism and wrong teachings (Richardson, 2014). The banning of culture and properties of Muslims is against their rights while promoting to terrorism is against the whole humanity. Universal Declaration of Human Rights was introduced on 10 Dec 1948 for the protection of human rights to ensure the foundation of freedom, justice and peace of human all over the world including the rights for the Muslim communities (Khan, M 1967). In the present scenario, human rights have been violated with fear of terrorism by so- called Muslim and this has created a boundary called ‘othering’ by general people to innocent Muslim community. This is the way of dominating and violating the human rights of those innocents Muslims by the society and violating human rights agenda such as documenting nature and extent of human rights, identifying particularly individuals and human right abuse (Ife, 2008). The critical race theory provides the framework to differentiate social discrimination of Muslims in Australia and around the world (Kolivoski, Weaver ; Huggins, 2014). According to Muhammad Khan in 1967, the former president of the UN General Assembly and the international court of justice explained that Islam seeks for stimulation and emphasizes their duties and obligations so that they can help for freedom, justice and equalities for Muslims and for mankind. He further adds Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights and fosters welfare of human in all social, economic and spiritual factors and always try to introduce a peaceful pattern of society in all developing dynamic world with a framework of beliefs, duties, obligations, exhortations and sanctions (Khan, 1967).
Critical Racial Theory can be known as a framework to examine and analyse the specific power that exhibit racial inequalities and develop strategies against them (Kolivoski, Weaver ;Huggins, 2014). The framework of critical racial theory is applied to social work practice that teaches about targeting questions, solving issues and ultimately helps in reducing racial discrimination between Muslims and other religions (Kolivoski, Weaver ; Huggins, 2014). Therefore, the Critical Race and Human right theory provide the framework to ensure and promote the protection of Universal Declaration of Human Rights for both Muslims and other general world. It ultimately helps in maintaining peace and freedom all around the world.
The process of categorizing, stereotyping and assigning power to people based on their physical attributes, culture and religion can be understood as Racism (Dominelli cited in Quinn, 2009). Besides, these debates racism against Muslim or Islamic population based on acts, culture and religion is still prevalent in Australia. Due to different terrorist attack like Boston and Paris Bomb, the attention of media and government has been increasing regarding the issue of Muslims othering and this has ultimately promoted Islamophobia (Silva, 2017). ‘Othering’ means outsider kind of feeling or attitudes or strong prejudicial feelings towards ethnic groups or maybe towards immigrants or minorities trying to stop them from rights and opportunities (Jefferson, 2015). Othering against Muslims known as Islamophobic othering is real in Australia. In approximately 243 case of Islamophobic incidents have been reported over the 14 months between 2014 to 2015 (Coch, 2017). Muslims are considered as other in every sector like education to legislation, employment opportunities to survival. According to ABC News, 243 incidents where 67.7 percent victims were female and the three quarter of it were male abuser, which shows that the Islamic women were higher at risk of othering act (Hegarty, 2017). Among those abused women, 79.6 percent women were wearing head covering and more than 30 percent were accompanied by their children. ‘othering’ has been taken seriously because of the quality reports, data and so the Muslims community are still becoming victim everyday (Coch, 2017). One of the victim women said that she got followed by unknown group until she entered the medical centre on Pitt Street. She was 19-week pregnant women and she thought that they are going to harm her and her daughter physically. She stated that there were lots of passers-by, but no one came for her aid (Coch, 2017). Coch (2017) further adds 98% of perpetrators are reported to be Anglo- Celtic and mostly male. These kinds of acts are all against human rights. In fact, those victims have nothing to do with those past worldwide terrorism, radicalization or conflicts but are simply getting violent reaction due to othering by Australian Society. According to The Global Terrorism Database, terrorism as the act of threatening or using illegal force and violent acts by a non-state actor to cause political, religious, economic or social motive with the help of coercion, terror, intimidation to divide terrorist’s attacks (Silva, 2017).Moreover, the report suggests that Islamophobic othering is not rooted in Islamic terrorism but is prevalent in presence of Muslims in the Australian Society. They are victim of daily life in schools, office, public, roads etc feel fear or terror of threatening, asking to leave Australia, harassment, murder and other physical harms, every step they go out from their home. Basically, othering in the name of religion or cultures and excluding them from their opportunities, violating their human rights is social crime. The respect for other ritual and belief is lacking due to racism and due to effects of day to day terroir incidents. Talking about othering of Muslims in the past, general people believe that several notable terror attacks such as Bomb attack in London and Boston and Fort Hood shooting in 2009 were the acts conducted by Muslims community (Silva, 2017). Silva further explains that different news about finding Muslim teachings about terror and against Human rights around the world enhance misbelief to the world that Muslim religion as a threat religion.
It was believed that the global and transnational flow of Islam all over the world, not bounded by any nation- state or political treaty resulted as political and economic treat for the western Society (Poole, 2002). The transformation of radicalization from politics to religion during 1990 to 2009 especially among Islam contributed toward terror attack and radicalization (Silva, 2017). Radicalization is not taken as an inherent issue of Muslim but is a process that affect world wide range of individuals by emphasizing them in political violence (Silva, 2017). Thus, this essential development became a symbol for conflict between the western community and Islam. These kinds of development and beliefs extremely contributed misunderstanding and conflicts between general world and the Muslims people which ultimately lead to today’s otherings of Muslims by world and vice versa. It is supposed to be believed that othering is a part of racism and Islamophobic othering which is the form of dominating innocence Islam especially when women. The women are kept away from their human rights and opportunities. The different attacks mentioned above against Muslim women and various incident faced by them in their daily life from the society clearly suggest us that the othering Muslim community due to coincidental misconception is happening today. Therefore, this is how racism based on religions and their cultural clothing is still prevalent in out civilized and educated society of Australia. These issues against Muslims about banning Burka or Mosques, and about othering them are violating Human rights and promoting inequalities in a society. Being a social work practitioner, a lot of efforts can be emphasized in coming years by social work students like us. Regarding Australia, there has been many practices and legislation already introduced to reduce or solve current debates on human rights (Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, 2016). Moreover, social workers are one of the skilled manpower who have been directly provoking those laws with various responsibilities. The act of othering Muslims is rooted at the base of society in Australia. Hence, the social workers working as the legal practitioner needs to focus more to avoid changes of harming legislative to 18c of the RDA (Australian Lawyer for Human Rights, 2016). Therefore, to preserve the culture of Muslim and prevent discrimination, different social work practitioner such as legal practitioner or even social workers can advocate through submission to law inquires and reform communities as Parliament Inquiry 2016 into Freedom of Speech regarding changes to 18c of RDA (Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, 2016).
Only recognizing Islamophobia does not help to diminish the problem and does not contribute in secularity of Australian society. Hence for the professional practice students need to be ready with every kinds of knowledge but laws and prevents too. This makes the social worker more capable and intelligent professionally to intevent issues at three different levels like micro, mezzo and macro (Errrger, 2014). This can be explained as social workers working individually with people, families in a microlevel, working with teams, group or organization in mezzo levels and with community, institutional or societal systems at macro level, address all the issues, find intervention, organize plans and solve them (Erreger, 2014).Since Australian liberal democracy has a vital aspect of protecting minorities like Muslims as minorities cannot have their voice in media and politics every time and get criticized with negative perception and hatred (Coch, 2017). Moreover, Australia as being a multi-cultural country holds the constitution, parliamentary democracy and freedom for religion and cultures (DIMIA, 2004). In addition, social workers are only able to work with clients from other cultural groups than their culture or religion that bound them to deal with every kind of issues from every cultures and religion (McMahon, 2005). This leads every social worker gain knowledge of all cultures and religion present in Australia and even compels them to deal comfortably with the victims, for example Muslim community for promoting equality. Similarly, two approaches called ethnic-sensitive practice (Devore ; Schlesinger, 1981,1995) and anti-racist approach (Domineli, 1997) were emphasized in cooperation into social work practice aiming to focus gender like Muslims women, class, race and religions such as Muslim particularly and to decrease misunderstanding, miscommunication respectively (McMahon, 2005). Hence, lots of approaches and anti-racist models have been executed in combination with social worker to reduce racism against Muslims, othering them and to address current issues (McMahon, 2005). Muslim women are struggling for their respective human right as they are banned to wear clothes of choice by their religion. Their self-respect, dignity and physical body is at higher risk and are struggling every day to achieve deserving opportunities due to religious racism. The social workers from their profession can also aware or alert every infrastructure of country such as education, human power and every bodies of government like legislative, journalism, ministry etc. to focus on current debates and join hands together to introduce their influences to eradicate them. Moreover, social work profession has observed religious and spiritual values as more relevant but challenging and narrow-minded practice in Australia (McMahon, 2005). This creates some huge opportunities for future deserving social workers like us for working into antiracist and anti-othering campaigns. It will be the responsibility of social workers to figure out the cause of conflicts, be voice of victims and work together with government and society to solve to those social issues. Therefore, social work professional practice plays vital role to reform wrong ideologies, solving current social debates like banning burka and mosques that ultimately protect everyone’s right of freedom and peace.
In summary, this essay on racism on Australia critically defines the current situation of racism based on religion, particularly focusing on the Muslim community. Moreover, it discusses about the debates of banning burka and controlling Mosques in Australia backing with its causes, its effects and professional practices to solve or reduce them. Some brutal incidents and results of these conflicts are also taken consideration in the essay with few reforms and legislation made against othering of Muslim’s people and violating their rights by general world.
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