‘Don’t blow yourself up’: A Muslim employee read a book at work. His manager’s reply left him in tears

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The number of reported incidents of discrimination in Australian workplaces and schools has increased over the past two years, according to the Islamophobia Register of Australia. The register’s latest report found that the number of complaints had risen, including in cases of verbal discrimination and bullying. While the number of complaints of Islamophobia fell overall – from 248 in 2018-19 to 90 in 2020-21 – the report attributed this decrease to the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited opportunities for many hate crime perpetrators through social distancing and lockdowns. Instead, there was a temporary shift of focus towards Asian-Australians. The increase in anti-Asian racism during the pandemic is likely to have contributed to the temporary reduction in reported anti-Muslim hate and racism, the report said. Enquiries from Asian Australians increased substantially following the pandemic, according to the report. The findings by the Islamophobia Register highlight concerns that there is a “massive” under-reporting happening, and that bystanders are increasingly not intervening to help victims.

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