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Avoiding community backlash in the fight against terrorism: Research report

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Cite as: Murphy, K. Cherney, A. and Barkworth, J. (2015) Avoiding community backlash in the fight against terrorism: Research report. Australian Research Council (Grant No. DP130100392) March 2015. University of Queensland, Griffith University. Acknowledgements: this research would have not been possible without the assistance provided by a number people. We would like to thank the survey and focus group participants for finding the time to participate, the Muslim fieldwork managers and moderators Nada and Khadar, the research company Specialised Research and Strategy and in particular Rick Yamine, Associate Professor Mohamed Abdalla and also a number of other individuals who wish to remain anonymous. Report updated on 10 June 2015
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... These legislative measures, in conjunction with political and media discourses that conflate terrorism with Muslims and Islam (Aly, 2007;Cherney & Murphy, 2015;Ewart, Cherney, & Murphy, 2017;Schmuck, et al., 2017), may exacerbate negative public sentiment towards minority groups, especially Muslims. Thus, the first independent variable manipulated in the vignette was suspect identity. ...
... Muslims have experienced increased scrutiny and discrimination from members of the public who perceive them to be threatening (Sides & Gross, 2013). Recent research in Australia reveals that Muslims do believe they have experienced increased scrutiny by the public, media and authorities in recent years (Murphy, Cherney & Barkworth, 2015). ...
Technical Report
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This technical report overviews the findings of a nationwide survey that examines Australians' attitudes towards crime control and counter-terrorism policies. This document presents the survey instrument and outlines the survey methodology and key findings. The survey benchmarked public attitudes towards counter-terrorism measures and forms of punishment in the traditional crime context. The survey also measured participants’ sense of national identity, their tolerance to diversity and their perceptions of threat from minority groups.
... The current study draws on survey data collected in July 2020 from a sample of 504 Arab-Muslim participants residing in Sydney, Australia. Sydney was the chosen site to conduct this study for two reasons: (1) the majority of Muslims in Australia live in Sydney (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2016); and (2) previous research has found that police-Muslim relations are more strained in Sydney when compared to other major Australian cities, with Muslims from Arab-league nations having the most strained relations (Murphy et al., 2015;Murphy, in press). ...
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Objectives This study examines how stigma moderates the effect of procedurally just and unjust treatment on Muslims’ trust in police. Methods Survey participants were randomly assigned to receive one of two vignettes describing a traffic stop where officer treatment was manipulated (procedurally just/unjust). Muslims’ feelings of stigma were measured prior to the vignette, while trust was measured after the vignette. Results We found that the procedural justice vignette enhanced trust in police, and perceived stigma was associated with lower trust. For Muslims who felt highly stigmatized, however, experiencing police procedural justice had a weaker positive effect on trust when compared to those who felt low levels of stigmatization. Conclusions The results suggest that feelings of stigma can moderate how individuals view police-citizen interactions. Specifically, for those who observe or experience encounters with police believing that they or their cultural group are stigmatized, procedural justice will be less effective in promoting trust.
... To do this, a list of 525 Arabic and Muslim surnames (e.g. Ahmed, Mohammad) was compiled (for a full list of names, see Murphy, Cherney, & Barkworth, 2015). A list of 9,500 individuals with these surnames (3,500 participant records in Sydney and Melbourne, and 2,500 for Brisbane) was created and interviewers then used RDD to contact potential participants. ...
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Believing that terrorist grievances are valid can strengthen the legitimacy of a terrorist organisation. As countering terrorism is high on political agendas worldwide, understanding the antecedents of such beliefs may spotlight how some terrorist ideals come to be validated. Using survey data from 800 Muslims living in Australia, this study discerns how social-psychological processes may shape beliefs that Islamic terrorist grievances are valid. Specifically, we examine how stigmatisation and social identity are associated with Muslims' perceptions that Islamic terrorists have valid grievances. We find that social identity can moderate the effect of feeling stigmatised on the belief that terrorist grievances are valid. Theoretical and policy implications of this research are discussed. ARTICLE HISTORY
... Research in Australia appears to mirror these sentiments. One study (Murphy et al. 2015) using focus groups and a survey of 800 Muslim Australians found that while Muslim Australians generally had a relatively high level of trust in the police in Australia, 'their trust of police regarding counter-terrorism was much lower than their general trust in police' (41). The respondents shared a common normative paradigm with other Australians in the sense of rejecting terrorism and were 'generally agreed that counter-terrorism laws aligned with what they felt was right' (Murphy et al.,43). ...
Technical Report
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The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) was commissioned by the Countering Violent Extremism Sub-Committee (CVESC) of the Attorney General’s office and subsequently the Department of Home Affairs in 2017 to conduct a study in partnership with the AFP and Victoria police and the Australian Multicultural Foundation (AFP) on the role of community support for the reintegration of the children and/or families of foreign fighters who may wish to return to Australia from conflict zones. The objective of the study was to develop a model, which could be used by communities and government to assist them to support the families of returning foreign fighters. The study found strong support among community and government stakeholders for a community based model of support for reintegration.
... At one end, let's call it the "alt-right", we find extremism confronting extremism, a largely poorly informed and/or fearfully inspired tendency to blame all of Islam and all Muslims whenever there is a perpetration of terrorism and that the only solution is for the country that has been terrorized to "ban", "send home" and/or somehow suppress the entire tradition and all its followers. Western countries have been beset by this form of extremism, especially since 9/11, and it has become a ready and often effective theme for populist media and politicians, gaining significant traction in the wider community (Murphy et al. 2015). Arguably, this points in part to poor education about Islam and, if so, to an educational issue that could fairly easily be addressed with enhanced prioritizing of courses in religion and theology, especially public theology as defined herein, at school and post-school formal levels and through media and community-based, informal education. ...
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The article mounts an argument for public theology as an appropriate if not vital adjunct to contemporary education’s addressing of security issues in light of current world events with indisputable religious and arguably quasi-theological foundations. It will briefly expound on the history of thought that has marginalized theology as a public discipline and then move to justify the counter view that the discipline, at least in the form of public theology, has potential to address matters of such public concern in a unique and helpful way. The article will culminate with an exploration of Global Jihadism as a case study that illustrates the usefulness of public theology in understanding it better and so allowing for a response with potential to be more informed and security-assured than is commonly effected.
... At one end, let's call it the "alt-right", we find extremism confronting extremism, a largely poorly informed and/or fearfully inspired tendency to blame all of Islam and all Muslims whenever there is a perpetration of terrorism and that the only solution is for the country that has been terrorized to "ban", "send home" and/or somehow suppress the entire tradition and all its followers. Western countries have been beset by this form of extremism, especially since 9/11, and it has become a ready and often effective theme for populist media and politicians, gaining significant traction in the wider community (Murphy et al. 2015). Arguably, this points in part to poor education about Islam and, if so, to an educational issue that could fairly easily be addressed with enhanced prioritizing of courses in religion and theology, especially public theology as defined herein, at school and post-school formal levels and through media and community-based, informal education. ...
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The article mounts an argument for public theology as an appropriate if not vital adjunct to contemporary education’s addressing of security issues in light of current world events with indisputable religious and arguably quasi-theological foundations. It will briefly expound on the history of thought that has marginalized theology as a public discipline and then move to justify the counter view that the discipline, at least in the form of public theology, has potential to address matters of such public concern in a unique and helpful way. The article will culminate with an exploration of Global Jihadism as a case study that illustrates the usefulness of public theology in understanding it better and so allowing for a response with potential to be more informed and security-assured than is commonly effected.
... At one end, let's call it the "alt-right", we find extremism confronting extremism, a largely poorly informed and/or fearfully inspired tendency to blame all of Islam and all Muslims whenever there is a perpetration of terrorism and that the only solution is for the country that has been terrorized to "ban", "send home" and/or somehow suppress the entire tradition and all its followers. Western countries have been beset by this form of extremism, especially since 9/11, and it has become a ready and often effective theme for populist media and politicians, gaining significant traction in the wider community (Murphy et al. 2015). Arguably, this points in part to poor education about Islam and, if so, to an educational issue that could fairly easily be addressed with enhanced prioritizing of courses in religion and theology, especially public theology as defined herein, at school and post-school formal levels and through media and community-based, informal education. ...
Preprint
The article mounts an argument for public theology as an appropriate if not vital adjunct to contemporary education’s addressing of security issues in light of current world events with indisputable religious and arguably quasi-theological foundations. It will briefly expound on the history of thought that has marginalized theology as a public discipline and then move to justify the counter view that the discipline, at least in the form of public theology, has potential to address matters of such public concern in a unique and helpful way. The article will culminate with an exploration of Global Jihadism as a case study that illustrates the usefulness of public theology in understanding it better and so allowing for a response with potential to be more informed and security-assured than is commonly effected.
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