Opening the door to an inclusive Australia
Fear of Muslims is a growing issue in many parts of the world, and here at BehaviourWorks, our own research shows that religious minorities experience high levels of prejudice in Australia. Prejudice and discrimination affect people in profound ways, resulting in poorer mental and physical health outcomes and lower life satisfaction.
So how do we build empathy and reduce prejudice?
While there’s not a lot of research about what works when it comes to reducing prejudice, researchers at the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC) and BehaviourWorks have secured funding to develop an intervention to reduce Islamophobia, and their work might hold the key to bringing about this change.
Their study will build on research recently published in Science, which found that a short, targeted conversation with a door-to-door canvasser could reduce prejudice against transgender people. The Monash team is looking to use these findings to develop and test a similar approach targeting Islamophobia. The study will target people who have expressed negative or ambivalent attitudes to Muslims.
The ultimate aim is to develop this strategy to target local communities and make them more tolerant and welcoming towards followers of the Islamic faith.
The study will be completed in 2020.