Canberra, Feb 23 (ANI): Almost half of Australians have anti-Muslim sentiments, while nearly 24 percent have a negative attitude towards Asians, the biggest survey ever done on racism in the country has revealed.
Among the 12,512 people surveyed Australia-wide, 48.6 percent were negative towards Muslims, Asians (23.8), indigenous Australians (27.9), Jews (23.3) and black Africans (27), News.com.au quoted the 12-year-survey, conducted by leading universities, as saying.
The survey also found 84 per cent of people had seen evidence of racial prejudice.
It, however, found that New South Wales (NSW), and Queensland (QLD) to be the most racist states, while Victoria was one of the most tolerant.
"An important finding of the Challenging Racism Project is that Australians are in large part secure with cultural difference. However, there are still pockets of the country that hold on to 'old-fashioned' racist views," the report states.
The survey's lead researcher Professor Kevin Dunn has said that the high levels of anti-Muslim feelings in Australia were a result of an 'accumulation of international political events, poorly-informed public debates and sensationalist media treatment'.
When the respondents were asked about their views on immigration, over 40 percent said they believe that "Australia is weakened by people of different ethnic origins sticking to their old ways".
The survey's co-author Dr Yin Paradies, from the University of Melbourne, said that racism against minorities was most common in areas that were more highly populated by those minorities.
"There is a general finding across the world that ethnic density tends to be related to levels of racism, but not always. The inner (Melbourne) suburbs tended to have very tolerant attitudes, but there is quite a bit of ethnic diversity there," he added.
Prof Dunn, however, insisted that multiculturalism had been successful in Australia, adding: "About 87 percent of Australians say that they see cultural diversity as a good thing for society ... and about 86 percent say they want something done about racism. So that tells me that multiculturalism has worked."
In the past recent years, Indian students were largely targeted in Australia, which had led to huge protests in both the countries. (ANI)