Government and law enforcement authorities have failed to win the “hearts and minds” of Muslim Australians with a landmark survey finding that 21 per cent think terrorists have legitimate grievances.
New counter-terrorism laws and police operations risk becoming counter-productive because they have “over-reached” and have created a “siege mentality”, researchers found.
The nation-wide study, a government-funded Australian Research Council Discovery project, is the first to quantify the consequences of Australia’s fight against terrorism for Muslim communities.
Dr Adrian Cherney, from the University of Queensland, and Associate Professor Kristina Murphy, from Griffith University, surveyed 800 Muslims between June and August and conducted 14 focus groups across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. They will present their full report next year.
Early findings revealed that counter-terrorism policy has become “over-reach” because the majority of Muslim Australians feel they are being unfairly targeted.