Almost half of Australia would support a ban on Muslim migration to this country, according to a new poll published Wednesday.
As revealed in The Guardian, polling service Essential asked "Would you support or oppose a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia?" They found that 49 percent of respondents would support it. Just 40 percent opposed it. Of the supporters, 40 percent claimed Muslims "do not integrate into Australian society", 27 percent cited "terrorist threat", and 22 percent said "They do not share our values".
There was outrage last week when One Nation leader Pauline Hanson called for a ban on Muslim migration in her maiden speech in parliament. The Essential polling finds that one in two Australians would agree with her.
"The result floored me," said Peter Lewis, Essential's executive director, in a piece in The Guardian.
Half of Australia would ban Muslim migration. This figure comes despite the fact that Muslims made up just 2.2 percent of Australia's population at the 2011 census, with just 476,000 classifying as followers of Islam in contrast to 13.15 million Christians, 4.8 million "no religion", and 529,000 Buddhists.
"It's deeply hurtful to know that based on this poll, every second person on the bus I was on this morning, would potentially ban people like me from entering Australia, if they could," lawyer and diversity advocate Mariam Veiszadeh told The Huffington Post Australia. She was born in Afghanistan in 1984, and her family fled the country, were granted asylum in Australia in 1991.
"People often say that our democracy is robust enough to withstand overt hate speech being spouted by some, but these results indicate otherwise."
Half of Australia would ban Muslim migration, despite the fact Muslims have a long, proud history with Australia. Go back to the 1800s, and the famous Afghan cameleers who helped explore Australia. The cameleers from Afghaniwere part of the Burke and Wills expedition. Find out more about them by clicking here. You know the famous Adelaide to Darwin rail trip known as the Ghan? "Ghan", according to the government's Australian Stories website, was slang for the Afghan Express.
"The Ghan's emblem is an Afghan on a camel in recognition of their efforts in opening up the inhospitable interior to the rest of Australia," the website states.
Half of Australia would ban Muslim migration, despite Australian TV's Gold Logie winner, the most popular personality on our screens, is Waleed Aly -- a Muslim man. His parents emigrated to Australia from Egypt. If we had a ban on Muslim migration, they wouldn't have made it to Australia.
Half of Australia would ban Muslim migration, despite three of our federal MPs being Muslim -- Labor members Ed Husic, Sam Dastyari and Anne Aly. Dastyari was born in Iran, Husic's parents emigrated from Yugoslavia, and Aly was born in Egypt. If we had a ban on Muslim migration, they wouldn't have made it to Australia.
Half of Australia would ban Muslim migration, despite the National Rugby League's all-time point-scoring record holder is Hazem El Masri -- a Muslim man. Born in Lebanon, El Masri migrated to Australia at age 12. If we had a ban on Muslim migration, he wouldn't have made it to Australia.
The poll news comes on the same day Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in New York City at a special summit on refugees and migration; the same day he announced that Australia's increased refugee intake levels for the next few years, meant to be a temporary measure, would become a permanent increase that will carry on into the future.