Muslims doing well in New Zealand despite reports of increased discrimination

21 March 2011

Despite an increase in reports of discrimination towards Muslims, a researcher at Victoria University of Wellington says Muslims in this country are doing comparatively well in other measures.

The research project, conducted by final-year PhD student Jaimee Stuart from the University’s Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research, compared the experience of Muslim young people in New Zealand and the UK.

The study examined well-being, psychological symptoms, behavioural problems, discrimination and immigration stress in about 300 Muslim youth (aged between 16 and 27 years) in both countries.

Ms Stuart says that the findings revealed that Muslim youth in this country demonstrate more positive outcomes on almost all indicators.

"Importantly, Muslims in New Zealand experience lower levels of discrimination and immigration stress, even though they have stronger religious identities and practice their religion more than those in the UK."

The study also found that perceptions of living in an inclusive, multicultural society were higher for Muslims in New Zealand and that this was related to better outcomes.

"This may be an important indicator that social cohesion has direct and positive impacts on the adjustment of immigrants in New Zealand," says Ms Stuart.