A Federal Government inquiry into multiculturalism has been swamped with anonymous Islamophobic and racist submissions. The draft report is due out soon and will be released as tensions run high from recent protests in Sydney and around the world.
Of 513 submissions many are anonymous and contain lines such as: “I do object to the current policy on immigration allowing predominately (sic) Muslim so called refugees into this country they are the biggest manipulative group around, are lying deceitful and dangerous.”
Many of them have very similar themes; that multiculturalism has failed, that Muslims are to blame, that they threaten democracy in Australia and refuse to assimilate.
The submissions have been accepted by the inquiry into the “economic, social and cultural impacts of migration (which will) make recommendations to maximise the positive benefits of migration”.
The right-wing extremist group Australian Defence League’s submission says they plan “to take every lawful action and use every lawful means to inhibit Islam in Australia”.
“It might seem like pushing poo uphill and beating a dead horse, but we are adamant that Islam is not welcome in Australia,” it reads.
The fundamentalist Christian group Salt Shakers call for an end to the policy of multiculturalism. Research director Jenny Stokes writes: “Multiculturalism has become a divisive policy in Australia. It has passed its ‘use by date’ and should be abandoned.” Ms Stokes would prefer more promotion of “our Christian heritage”.
People say they are concerned that Australia will turn “into another Bosnia”, or “will be known as the trash bin of the West”.
Andrew Jakubowicz is an expert on multiculturalism and race relations and a Professor of Sociology at the University of Technology, Sydney. He said he believed the chairperson “may have been spooked by those racist submissions”, but that they would take many other difference sources of information into account.
He said research showed that up to 20 per cent of Australians were actively prejudiced against people “who are not like them” but that most people don’t really care too much unless it “intrudes into their personal space”.
“My guess is (the inquiry will) come up with a report that doesn’t have a minority report because (Ms Vamvakinou) has already said two crucial things: that Islamophobia is a big issue and that there’s no way there’ll be legislative outcomes from this,” he said.
Inquiry chair, Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou, did not return News.com.au’s calls but said in an interview with The Australian earlier this year that Australians were “comfortable” with multiculturalism, but that the committee would not ignore the section of the community that believe “multiculturalism is a way for Muslims to come in and impose their views…”.
“We have to balance this between people’s fears and the real facts,” she said.