Category: social cohesion

A General Social Impact Assessment of Mosques in Australian Neighbourhoods

Analysis by Frank Salter.

Executive summary:
A social impact study provides planning authorities with information about how a proposed development will most likely affect a population’s way of life, culture, sense of community (identity and social cohesion), social and architectural environment, health and wellbeing. Existing social impact assessments of mosques were reviewed and found to be empirically incomplete, theoretically weak and ethnocentric.
The study applies a biosocial theory, Ethnic Nepotism, that has proven useful in explaining and predicting the effects of ethno-religious diversity. Religions are conceptualised as entities that evolved culturally to solve adaptation problems. To generate a hypothesis concerning distinctive Muslim behaviour, overseas social impacts were reviewed. The results were two hypotheses of the social impact of Muslims in Australian neighbourhoods.
The first hypothesis is that ethno-religious diversity causes a loss of trust and cohesion in Australian communities as it does overseas. The second hypothesis is that distinctive Muslim characteristics cause additional negative social impacts.
The first hypothesis is confirmed quantitatively by seven studies conducted between 2006 and 2013. Muslims formed part of the diversity being studied but were not a focus of the research. One study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that in 2014 diverse communities volunteer less, as do immigrants of non-English speaking background. Four of the studies were surveys conducted by the Scanlon Foundation in conjunction with the Multicultural Foundation of Australia. The surveys, published in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2012, all found that diversity significantly undercuts feelings of trust and safety, confidence in harmony, the quality of life, support for immigration, and acceptance of refugees.
The second hypothesis was confirmed quantitatively by seven lines of converging evidence. Muslim communities are associated with strongly negative social impacts for long-time Australians (third generation), much worse than those produced by ethno-religious diversity or by Buddhism, the other large minority religion.
The Scanlon area surveys indicate that in areas with large Muslim populations, disapproval of Muslims is about five times the disapproval of Buddhists in areas with large Buddhist populations. This result has been repeated by every survey since 2010 when the question was first included. Even among strong supporters of multiculturalism, who generally accept minorities, in 2014 as many as 18 per cent were negative towards Muslims, but only 2 per cent towards Buddhists. In the same year, when the survey was conducted more anonymously online, overall negative attitudes towards Muslims rose to 44 per cent. The findings are replicated in patterns of reported discrimination. While ethnic groups within Islam were disapproved, the negativity towards the Islamic religion was stronger.
The Scanlon results were confirmed by a Roy Morgan poll in 2013, which found that 70 per cent of respondents distrusted Islamic influence, and a Progress Institute survey in 2015, which found that only 24 per cent of respondents felt “very safe”, a sharp fall from the 42 per cent who gave that reply in 2010.
These extensive survey results were confirmed by imprisonment rates in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Overall, Muslims are imprisoned at almost three times their proportion of the population. In addition, Muslim unemployment and public dependency rates are two to three times greater than the Australian averages. Finally, lack of affiliation with Australia is indicated by patterns of Muslim military volunteering. About five times the number of Australian Muslims have volunteered or attempted to volunteer for jihadist forces in the Middle East than are presently serving in the Australian Armed Forces. This, despite a very high casualty rate suffered by jihadists.
These converging lines of evidence help explain the survey findings of a steep decline in social cohesion and a rise in fear and uncertainty in areas with large numbers of Muslims and a similarly steep decline in acceptance of Muslims nationwide.
Qualitative evidence offers further confirmation of these results, while adding behavioural detail. Muslim and Middle Eastern communities contribute disproportionately to terrorism and organised crime, according to state and federal security experts. Islamic terrorism is responsible for the National Terrorism Threat Advisory System warning that another act of domestic terrorism is “probable”, a high setting to which it was raised in September 2014. Muslims show ethnic variation in rates of terrorism, high for Lebanese, low for Indonesians. However, the latter constitute only 5.9 per cent of Australian Muslims, and jihadism is increasing in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Criminal Muslim families are so prominent in distribution of illicit drugs and related violence, that Victoria and NSW both have had crime squads dedicated to “Middle Eastern Crime”. These threats are predicted by experts to last for generations. Contributing to this are low Muslim intermarriage rates, also evident in Europe.
Organised crime and terrorism belong to a wider spectrum of anti-social behaviour. The qualitative evidence includes descriptions of anti-social behaviour, including the broad-spectrum crime described in earlier, anti-white assaults and harassment, and hyper-masculine and misogynist culture among young men. Similar accounts are provided by experienced journalists and police. The view from within Islam tacitly confirms these accounts either by calling for a more pacifist Islam in tune with Australian values, or by denouncing Australian society.
To summarise, quantitative and qualitative data indicate that Muslims exert negative social impacts on local neighbourhoods significantly beyond that caused by ethno-religious diversity. More than immigrants and minorities in general, Muslims weaken community identity and cohesion, reduce trust and sense of public safety, and increase anti-social behaviour, crime, and unemployment in local areas. In addition, Islamic populations and mosques increase the risk of organised crime and terrorism, a trend expected to last for generations.
Mosques contribute to negative social impacts in their areas by attracting Muslims and by reproducing Islamic doctrines and identity. They also slow assimilation by promoting within-group marriage. Robust group identity, an adaptive feature of Islam, slows adoption of Australian values as well as degrading local identity and cohesion.

The policy implications of this general SIA are that: (1) mosque proposals should be accompanied by SIAs describing social impacts in the categories reviewed in the present study; (2) “territorial multiculturalism” be facilitated in which councils are permitted to preserve the cultural and religious identities of their communities.

Diversity and Social Cohesion Redux

More of the same, not that it would convince the Lunatic Left.

Only those moving into  diverse communities – presumably voluntarily – do not suffer the negative effects.  Although for even this group, I can imagine those forced to move toward diversity for economic reasons would suffer; thus, only those who move toward diversity because they (stupidly) value diversity itself would be unaffected.  The abstract:
Studies demonstrate a negative association between community ethnic diversity and indicators of social cohesion (especially attitudes towards neighbours and the community), suggesting diversity causes a decline in social cohesion. However, to date, the evidence for this claim is based solely on cross-sectional research. This article performs the first longitudinal test of the impact of diversity, applying fixed-effects modelling methods to three waves of panel data from the British Household Panel Survey, spanning a period of 18 years. Using an indicator of affective attachment, the findings suggest that changes in community diversity do lead to changes in attitudes towards the community. However, this effect differs by whether the change in diversity stems from a community increasing in diversity around individuals who do not move (stayers) or individuals moving into more or less diverse communities (movers). Increasing diversity undermines attitudes among stayers. Individuals who move from a diverse to a homogeneous community report improved attitudes. However, there is no effect among individuals who move from a homogeneous to a diverse community. This article provides strong evidence that the effect of community diversity is likely causal, but that prior preferences for/against out-group neighbours may condition diversity’s impact. It also demonstrates that multiple causal processes are in operation at the individual-level, occurring among both stayers and movers, which collectively contribute to the emergence of average cross-sectional differences in attitudes between communities. Unique insights into the causal impact of community disadvantage also emerge.