Australian poll shows ignorance of Islam

A poll of 1,300 Australians has found high levels of ignorance about Islam. One third of Australians admitted to knowing nothing about the world’s second largest religion, while about a quarter also believed it to be either a fundamentalist or intolerant faith. More than half of the poll respondents also said they felt threatened by Islam.

One of the researchers behind the study, New South Wales University’s Kevin Dunn, said people tended to feel less threatened by Islam when they had direct contact with its followers. “That varies according to the extent of knowledge someone has and also, fundamentally, the extent of daily contact someone has with Muslims,” he said. “If you know a few Muslims, you’re much less likely to perceive a threat from them.”

The Islamic Council’s Nade Roude said that with 7 per cent of Australia’s population identifying as Muslim, it shows a lot of work needed to be done.

ABC News, 20 March 2006