Title

An Intervention to Increase Positive Attitudes and Address Misconceptions About Australian Muslims: A Call for Education and Open Mindedness

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

The Australian Psychological Society

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science

School

Computer and Security Science, Centre for Security Research

Comments

Originally published as: Pedersen, A., Aly, A., Hartley, L., & McGarty, C. (2009). An intervention to increase positive attitudes and address misconceptions about Australian Muslims: A call for education and open mindedness. The Australian Community Psychologist, 21(2), 81-93. Original article available here

Abstract

The present study describes a nine-week anti-prejudice intervention targeting attitudes towards Australian Muslims at a Western Australian university in 2008 using data from 19 Psychology students. Quantitative results found a marginal increase in reported positive attitudes towards Australian Muslims, together with a significant reduction in the reporting of negative media-related beliefs. Using a thematic analysis on reported attitudes and beliefs about Muslim integration and immigration, we found differences in the themes expressed before and after the intervention. Beforehand, themes included a cultural divide in values; a need for more cultural understanding; and aspects of Islamic ideology restrict Muslims from integrating. Afterward, themes included an increased awareness of structural issues affecting Australian Muslims; a re-framing of citizenship as a shared identity; an increased awareness of negative representation of Muslims in the media; an acknowledgement of Australia’s inherent diversity; and a shift from homogenising Muslims as a group to constructing Muslims as part of a diverse society. Clearly, such interventions alone are not enough given historical and contemporary contexts. However, our study indicates that – in this context at least – in-depth cross-cultural analysis and learning can be used to bring about change.

Article Location

 
COinS