Maralyn Parker published an article this week in the SMH resulting from an interview with Professor Riaz Hassan of Flinders University. Late last year he wrote a report based on the 2006 Census data indicating that unemployment in the younger (19-24 year old) Muslim community is twice the rate of the national average (18% versus 9%). This, despite the fact that Muslims are more likely to have tertiary qualifications than non-Muslims.
Professor Hassan also makes the points in his report that the rate of poverty amongst Muslim children is 40% versus 20% for the general population (albeit a very subjective measure) and the rate of prison incarceration is significantly higher for Muslim populations in European countries, citing the U.K. and France (where Muslims number 8% of the country but 50% of the prison population).
Ms. Parker is sure that there are two explanations for this discrepency;
i) the proliferation of Islamic schools in Australia leading to marginalised Muslim youth unable to get ahead in an otherwise Anglo/Chinese country.
ii) ‘discrimination’ by non-Muslim Australia against Muslims
She has two solutions;
i) Stop the spread of religious schools and regulate existing ones much more tightly
ii) Encourage businesses to employ Muslims
‘Perhaps we can start a campaign to help by telling employers _ do your bit for Australia, employ a Muslim Australian.’
The U.K.’s education watchdog, OFSTED, now publishes GCSE exam results (Year 10) by ethnic group. This information reveals much more interesting information. In fact, it is a wonderful report to show your racist (sorry, ‘race realist’) friends as it reveals that far from indigenous white kids stealing the show, the best performers are those with yellow and brown skins. But within the ‘brown skin’ category, there is a marked difference between the performance of non-Muslims (largely Indians) and Muslims (Pakistanis and Bangladeshis). Far from pointing to genetic effects in intellect and effort, this data suggests cultural differences are far more important.