Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has attempted to blame Muslim Australians for voting against marriage equality in the postal survey.

He said the migrant population in western Sydney was a reason for the No vote of 38 per cent, Pink News has reported.

“The numbers speak for themselves, and you can see the biggest No votes were in electorates with a large migrant population, and in particular with a large Muslim population, like several of the seats in western Sydney and in Melbourne,” said Turnbull in a radio interview.

“In some of those seats you’ve got a very big Muslim community who are very conservative on issues like this and very little support for same-sex marriage.”

Just 17 federal electorates out of 150 returned a majority No vote in the survey, most in western Sydney, along with three Queensland and two Victorian seats.

The most vocal opponents of marriage equality during the campaign period were not Muslims, who make up just 2.6 per cent of Australians, but the Australian Christian Lobby and the affiliated Coalition for Marriage.

During the survey, Muslims for Marriage Equality brought together a diverse group of Muslims supporting LGBTI rights and marriage equality.

Founder Fahad Ali said Turnbull is wrong to blame Muslims for the No vote.

“The Yes campaign, they didn’t really go into western Sydney,” said Ali.

“It didn’t really build in diverse communities out west and the consequence of that is that they voted No.”

Professor of Sociology Andrew Jakubowicz at the University of Technology Sydney agreed that lack of outreach was a problem.

“The opposition to same-sex marriage was particularly resonant in communities where people have fairly poor educational backgrounds, somewhat limited English language skills and their information is mediated primarily through religious institutions,” he said.

Professor Jakubowicz noted that Muslims were not the only religious group who returned a No vote.

“In localities where there are strong communities built around Eastern Orthodoxy, Islam, Eastern Catholicism, African Christianities, Asian Christianities (ranging from Catholic to Evangelical), and even in other areas with pockets of Orthodox Judaism, there were singular funnels of information presented in cultural and moral terms,” he said.

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