About Islamophobia (Anti-Muslim Hate)
Definition: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” – All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, November 2018.
Since 2013, OHPI has worked to combat online Islamophobia which incites hatred and violence against Muslims in violation of their human rights, we have generally refered to this work as combating anti-Muslim hate. The word Islamophobia has been used for a couple of decades to describe this hatred, however, it has also been given a more expansive meaning. As the Macquarie Dictionary (Sixth Edition Oct 2013) defined it, Islamophobia is:”the irrational fear of Islam and its adherents”. Given that criticism and even attacks on ideas, including religion, do not violate human rights, and are therefore not a form of hate speech the term has caused those working in this area some concern. A proposed definition of Islamophobia by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims narrows the terms to one based on human rights. We support this UK definition for the term and oppose efforts to bring ideas of blasphemy or defamation of religion within the scope of of the term Islamophobia.
In Victoria, religious vilification is treated in similar terms to racism (see our landing pages on Racism). The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic) Section 8 says that “(1) A person must not, on the ground of the religious belief or activity of another person or class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons.” Section 25 goes further making serious racial vilification a criminal offence with a potential penalty of up to 6 months imprisonment. Serious religious vilification involves knowingly engaging in conduct with the intention of inciting serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of a person or group of people on the basis of their religious beliefs or activities.
Campaign (April 2020) – Combating Online Islamophobia
During the month of April we will be running a special campaign to combat online Islamophobia. The campaign aims to increase the focus on preventing this particular area of online hate. Special donations can be made to support this specific campaign and are welcome at any time.
Below is a list of our publications documenting, reporting and highlighting instances of online anti-Muslim hate.
OHPI produces detailed reports documenting and analysing online hate. The reports are produced over a number of months addressing a theme in a systematic and in-depth manner. These reports are published by OHPI and made freely available to the public.
January 17, 2020: Andre Oboler, Mark Civitella, Nasya Bahfen, “Submission on Anti-Vilification Protections”
This report is a submission to a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into vilification laws. We highlight the need for such laws with respect to Islamophobia.
December 10, 2015: Spotlight on Anti-Muslim Internet Hate Interim Report
This interim report provides some background and preliminary data from OHPI’s forthcoming “Spotlight on Anti-Muslim Internet Hate Report” due to be released in March 2016. This report is based on over 1,100 items of anti-Muslim hate in social media reported and categorised by the public through our FightAgainstHate.com reporting tool. The vast majority of the hate this report is based on was found on Facebook. The report indicates the volume of content by category, and how effective Facebook has been in responding to content in each category.
This report explores the response of mainstream and social media to the terror attacks in France in January 2015, particularly with respect to free speech. It examines where to draw the line between free speech and attacking a person’s dignity in the light of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Some key points from the report:
- The discussion on where the line rests between free speech and right to human dignity has to take into account the fact that Australia celebrates multiculturalism and religious diversity. The French tradition of Laïcité, in contrast, takes a much more intolerant view of religion in the public sphere.
- There is a difference between criticism of a religion and attacking the people who practice it. Critiquing religion, which is a set of ideas, is not hate speech. Stereotypying and dehumanising a group of people, identified by their religion, is hate speech. The report illustrates the difference using images taken from a Facebook page, which was not specifically dedicated to hate.
- The report looks at how media around the world have responded to the events, and recommended against them republishing the cartoons lampooning the Prophet by Charlie Hebdo.
- It recommends social media users show solidarity with the victims using the universal hashtag “JeSuisHumain” rather than the more divisive “JeSuisCharlie” or “JeSuisAhmed”.
- The report makes a case for Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act being expanded to bring religious vilification within its purview.
- It calls for greater vigilance against rising antisemitism, which in turn is fueling radicalisation of parts of the Muslim community in Europe.
December 10, 2013: Islamophobia on the Internet: The growth of online hate targeting Muslims
This work examines 50 anti-Muslim Facebook pages from which it documents 349 images of anti-Muslim hate. These images represent 191 unique images and many repetitions as messages of hate move between the different pages. The message of hate in this report are divided into seven themes which the report discusses:
- Muslims as a Security Threat or Threat to Public Safety
- Muslims as a Cultural Threat
- Muslims as an Economic Threat
- Content Dehumanising or Demonizing Muslims
- Threats of Violence, Genocide and Direct Hate Targeting Muslims
- Hate Targeting Refugees / Asylum Seekers
- Other Forms of Hate Speech
December 8, 2014: How Facebook Responded to Anti-Muslim Hate
This report gives an update tracking the removal (or growth) of pages discussed in the 2013 report.
OHPI briefings tackle specific instances of online hate and are produced rapidly to respond to emerging problems.
January 18, 2020: Instagram needs help
December 26, 2018: Hate on the rise in Victoria
December 16, 2018: Who thinks we’re a waste of time and money?
December 15, 2018: Hating those opposing hate
December 11, 2018: Impact on Islamophobia: OHPI in UK Parliamentary Report
November 9, 2018: Bourke Street Attack November 2018
August 8, 2018: OHPI cited in the United Nations
December 21, 2017: Car Attack in Flinders Street Melbourne
January 7, 2016: Charlie Hebdo, free speech and the right to human dignity
January 14, 2016: Report anti-Muslim video “WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT (islam)” on YouTube
December 19, 2015: Response to geography homework on Islam shuts down schools
December 9, 2015: Recap 2015: Je Suis Humain report & paper
November 25, 2015: When does disagreement become hate?
November 24, 2015: Crossing the line on political speech
October 23, 2015: Victorian Government supports SAMIH
September 25, 2015: How to identify anti-Muslim hate
September 17, 2015: The Rising Online Anti-Muslim Hate: A Background
September 11, 2015: Sept 11 and today’s rising anti-Muslim hate
August 29, 2015: The Bendigo Rallies
August 23, 2015: Bigots target OHPI
August 21, 2015: Report “Restore Australia” community page
August 17, 2015: “Waleed Aly is an Islamic Turd”- Page Removed
August 6, 2015: The danger of the Australian Far-Right
July 28, 2015: E-mail with a Reclaimer
July 22, 2015: Hatefully presenting Muslims as a threat to our way of life
June 5, 2015: Restore Australia’s cyberbullying of Mariam Veiszadeh
April 23, 2015: More on Boycott Halal in Australia
April 22, 2015: Examining Boycott Halal in Australia
April 16, 2015: Right Honourable Useful Idiots
March 24, 2015: Success! OHPI gets hate removed
March 10, 2015: A recap on OHPI at 12,000
November 5, 2014: Hate Among Friends
October 2, 2014: Hate Page Take Back Australia Grows Rapidly
Setpember 27, 2014: Squadron 88 Returns
September 15, 2014: The Mosque at Currumbin
July 26, 2014: 60 Minutes Unholy War
July 24, 2014: The Bendigo Mosque: Exporting Hatred to Regional Victoria
February 10, 2014: OHPI’s exposure of Islam exposed
January 10, 2014: Administrator closes account after threats of violence
April 11, 2013: Islamophobia on Facebook – Hate Against Muslims Crosses the Line
July 10, 2013: Anti-Muslim Rant goes viral
Community & Government Engagement
December 14, 2015: OHPI joins All Together Now for #silencetheracists campaign
November 18, 2015: OHPI represented at a national conference on multiculturalism
November 16, 2015: OHPI interviewed by SBS Urdu
October 14, 2015: Minister Robin Scott commends OHPI’s work
July 27, 2015: OHPI attends the IREA Eid Dinner
July 18, 2015: Attending the Melbourne Rally Against Racism
July 16 & 17, 2015: Attending the Advancing Community Cohesion conference
March 23, 2015: OHPI at the first Official Jewish-Muslim Dinner in Victoria
March 20, 2015: Attorney-General Responds to OHPI Report
February 5, 2015: World Interfaith Harmony Week at the Victorian Parliament
September 22, 2015: Women in mosque peace talk
August 21, 2015: Talk on Cyber-Racism & Social Media
Commentary & Media Coverage
December 10, 2015: Anti-Muslim Internet Hate: Interim Report to mark International Human Rights Day (Press Release)
November 23, 2015: OHPI featured in an ABC Radio National documentary
November 15, 2015: OHPI interviewed by SBS Urdu
October 3, 2015: OHPI on SBS Urdu
September 24, 2015: OHPI featured in SBS News
September 17, 2015: OHPI on SBS Hindi
September 18, 2015: Campaign to stop Online Hate against Islam – SBS Radio Interview
September 3, 2015: Radio interview about OHPI’s work combating online hate (K-Rock FM)
July 18, 2015: Melbourne Rally Against Racism
June 10, 2015: Countering Violent Extremism Summit
April 20, 2015: Talk at La Trobe University
April 16, 2015: Right Honourable Useful Idiots
January 21, 2015: Je Suis Humain: Responsible free speech in the shadow of Charlie Hebdo (The Big Smoke)
January 21, 2015: OHPI: Je Suis Humain (hurryupharry.org)
January 20, 2015: OHPI releases report on free speech in light of the Charlie Hebdo attacks (Press Release)
December 15, 2014: New tool in fighting online hate (Australian Jewish News)
December 11, 2014: OHPI: Tracking down the data to combat online hate (The Big Smoke)
December 10, 2014: Hitting Back Against Hate (MX)
December 9, 2014: Fight Against Hate Launched (OHPI Press Release)
September 22, 2014: Women in Mosque Peace Talk in the Frankston Times
September, 16, 2014: Abusive anti-mosque Facebook page taken down, ABC Gold Coast
September, 16, 2014: Controversial anti-mosque Facebook page removed, interview on ABC Radio Brisbane
June, 27, 2014: Bendigo Mosque A cause celebre for right-wing outsiders in the The Sydney Morning Herald
July 17, 2014: Facebook Caught in Social Media War in The Jerusalem Post.
July 7, 2014: Loving Nazis & Hating Muslims in the The Australian Jewish News
December 10, 2013: Muslims Trolled, interview with ABC Radio National
July 28, 2015 – Reclaiming Australia from bigots