RMIT Centre for Global Research Report, in collaboration with the ICV, Moreland City Council and Hume City Council title “Religious visibility, disadvantage and bridging social capital: a comparative investigation of multicultural localities in Melbourne’s north”
People living in more diverse suburbs are less likely to express or experience Islamophobia, according to new RMIT research, essentially the study shows that ‘diversity reduces community fears’.
ICV Executive Director Nail Aykan commended the release of new ICV supported RMIT research into religious visibility in local areas Fawkner and Broadmeadows which advises that all levels of government need to collaborate with key community organisations to preserve and strengthen community cohesion and tolerance in Australia and nationally.
RMIT claims that the study confirms the suggestion of the ‘contact theory’: that direct social interaction with minority groups leads to the diminishing of prejudice against them.
The report identified key barriers experienced by Muslims in disadvantaged suburbs including employment and training, safe public transport and a diverse workforce as essential to strengthening local community cohesion while reducing Islamophobia.
from the Introduction
This project explores local experiences of resident s in two highly ethno-religiously diverse suburbs in Melbourne’s north, Fawkner and Broadmeadows. The two localities are chosen because they both have large Muslim minorities and the project set out to explore the impact of (primarily Muslim) religious visibility on everyday suburban encounters. Such encounters are an important part of many people’s lives and also a basis for people’s social perceptions and consequently their actions in the local and wider social contexts. Our guiding research question was: How does religious visibility (as opposed as religious diversity per se) impact on the development of ‘bridging social capital’ and ultimately social cohesion in case-study localities?
Download the full report here
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