• 18:02
  • Monday ,01 August 2016
العربية

Anti-Muslim bias hinders migration, says terror expert

By National News

Copts and Poliltical Islam

00:08

Monday ,01 August 2016

Anti-Muslim bias hinders migration, says terror expert
A leading Muslim academic fears that bias within the migration program, perhaps fuelled by concerns about terrorism, is making it ­difficult for Muslims from the Middle East to come to Australia.
 
Riaz Hassan, who is director of the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding at the University of South Australia, says his analysis of recent immigration statistics, like The Australian’s analysis published last week, shows Australia tends to take non-Muslims over Muslims, even from countries where the majority of people are Muslim.
 
Both major parties insist the trend towards non-Muslim ­migration, apparent since at least 2001, is not deliberate but a consequence of a migration program focused on attracting ­migrants with certain skills.
 
“I am sure part of the explanation lies in the point system which favours skill migration, but it is difficult to accept that these trends are entirely due to the skill-driven migration program,’’ ­Pro­fessor Hassan said.
 
“There may be bias operating which does not favour Muslims.”
 
Professor Hassan, an expert on suicide bombings and terrorism, said he wanted to “believe our migration intake is bias-free” but his study suggested that Australia tends to take non-Muslims.
 
This may be because non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries — such as the Coptic Christian community in Egypt — are more likely to want to ­migrate.
 
Professor Hassan said his research showed Australia’s immigrants from Iran and Iraq were “overwhelmingly non-Muslims. These two countries are 99 per cent Muslims.’’
 
“Pakistan is 95 per cent Muslims but 84 per cent of (Australia’s Pakistani) immigrants are Muslim, and a similar trend applies to ­Afghanistan,’’ he said.
 
“But what surprised me was that Egypt and Indonesia are 88 per cent Muslim but the migrants intakes from these countries are also predominantly non-Muslims: 12 per cent from Egypt and 17 per cent from Indonesia.
 
“Malaysia is 65 per cent Muslim but only 5.3 per cent Malaysian migrants were Muslims. Out of 340,604 migrants from India, only 10,125 or 3 per cent were Muslims whereas 14 per cent of the Indian population is Muslim.
 
“Similarly, the per cent of ­migrants from Sri Lanka and Singapore who are Muslims are very significantly lower than the proportion of Muslims in their ­respective population.
 
“There may be bias operating which does not favour Muslims.”
 
The Australian last week published research that suggests that Australia is taking fewer than 600 Lebanese Muslims a year; and that Muslims from elsewhere in the Middle East are struggling to grab more than a few hundred of the available places.
 
Senator-elect Pauline Hanson praised the development, saying the Australian public did not support widespread migration from “Islamic faith nations”.
 
“The current Muslim population within Australia is said to be about 2.2 per cent. With our next census just around the corner, let’s see what Australia’s new make-up looks like,” Ms Hanson said. “It’s clear the public outcry ­toward immigration from Islamic faith nations and my calls are ­finally being acknowledged.
 
“I certainly don’t want any government leading us down a path similar to Europe where we lose control of our borders. We are quick to defend the preservation of our native fauna and flora but these same people forget that preserving the Australian way of life is equally important.”