Do turban-wearers provoke subconscious prejudice against Muslims?
As reported by the Victoria Times-Colonist, a study conducted at the University of New South Wales in Australia suggests that Muslim-style turban are perceived as menacing. Researchers there are calling this the "turban effect". The results of the study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. From the Times-Colonist article:
Research volunteers played a computer game that showed apartment balconies on which different figures appeared, some wearing Muslim-style turbans or hijabs and others bare-headed. They were told to shoot at the targets carrying guns and spare those who were unarmed, with points awarded accordingly.
People were much more likely to shoot Muslim-looking characters – men or women – even if they were carrying an innocent item instead of a weapon, the researchers found
At this point, it’s unknown what game software was used for the study. Mohamed Elmasry, head of the Canadian Islamic Congress, commented on the results:
I’m hoping that Canadian Muslims one day become invisible. As such, Canadians will treat them like any others… [The research] does confirm our biggest fear that there is discrimination and prejudice within our society, and unfortunately people don’t recognize it or don’t admit it. Sometimes they really don’t know that it does exist.