Muslims changing names to get work in Australia, admit Islamic leaders

     Frustrated Muslims are anglicizing their names to avoid religious discrimination when applying for work in Australia. According to Islamic leaders, some legally change their name by deed poll, while others adopt ‘new’ names for their resumes.

Muslim leader and Islamic Friendship Association founder Keysar Trad said the ‘sad’ trend has become increasingly prevalent, and the recent Sydney riots would only exacerbate the problem. “Many people are changing from Mohammed to Michael, Ahmed to Allan, Haroun to Harold and others change Mohammed to Jim, even though there is no relationship between the two,” he said. “It’s sad many Muslims feel compelled to do this. That message is unless you do take on an Anglo name you won’t get past the front door,” he added. “Unfortunately, the protests will have an impact with some employers, and I appeal for those employers to treat people on merit,” quoted Trad, as saying.

According to the report, Trad said people with traditional Muslim names often experience blatant religious discrimination when applying for a job. “I’ve heard of many cases where people have applied for a job using their Muslim name and not getting an interview, then making a phone call and giving a different name and being called back for an interview,” he said. Race Discrimination Commissioner Helen Szoke said a migrant westernizing their Christian names to increase their chances of employment is a growing and concerning trend. “There are many people who you come across who talk about the fact they anglicise their name for employment purposes or because people found it too hard to pronounce or it was foreign,” Szoke said. "There is definitely evidence to suggest that people do this because they feel it improves or enhances their opportunities to gain work," Szoke added.

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