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Media Pack

The following resources are available:

Media enquiries:
Janine MacDonald, (02) 9284 9880, 0407 660 235
Paul Oliver (02) 9284 9677, 0408 469 347


Media Release:

Ismaع - Listen: National Consultations on eliminating prejudice against Arab and Muslim Australians

Dr William Jonas at the launch of the Isma Project Summary Report, 16 June 2004The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission summary report on national consultations with Arab and Muslim Australians was launched in Sydney today.

Launching the summary report, acting Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr William Jonas said he hoped it would point the way forward to a better mutual understanding between Arab and Muslim Australians and the rest of the Australian community.

"This summary report reflects the views and experiences of 1,400 Arab and Muslim Australians who took part in the Ismaع consultations. Many of them told us that they had felt hostility from some sections of the Australian community over the past few years.

"However, it doesn't seek to lay blame or rake over the events of the past. Rather it demonstrates how important it is that we begin discussions with key organisations to develop a more harmonious community," said Dr Jonas.

Omeima Sukkarieh, Community Liason Officer at the launch of the Isma Project Summary ReportThe Commission held 69 consultations in all States and Territories with a view to better understand the nature and causes of and solutions to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice. The project was guided by a reference group consisting of representatives of Arab and Muslim communities, the police, the media and other organisations.

Dr Jonas said education and strong leadership were the keys to long-term change in the way Arabs and Muslims are viewed in Australia. He commended organisations that were already working on improving that relationship.

"There are more than 100 projects being carried out by Arab and Muslim organisations, other community groups and Government agencies that are already working to build stronger community relationships. They've recognised that a problem exists and are doing something positive to address racial and religious prejudice," he said.

 National Consultations on eliminating prejudice Dr Jonas said the recommendations from the Ismaع project would benefit Arab and Muslim Australians, as well as people of other religions.

The Ismaع project included national consultations with Arab and Muslim Australians; an empirical and qualitative research project undertaken by the University of Western Sydney; and an audit of strategies and initiatives that have been undertaken by organisations to counter anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice.

An audio CD, produced in English and Arabic, which describes the Ismaع project and includes comments from the community consultations, will be distributed to Arab and Muslim groups, local councils and other organisations.

 

Last updated 29 August 2004.