Community groups and academics say they are concerned about a "rising tide of racism" in Australia, stemming from recent tensions in the Middle East.

Sociology professor Andrew Jakubowicz from the University of Technology in Sydney says there has been a noticeable rise in racism in Australia.

Professor Jakubowicz says part of the problem has been statements made earlier this year by federal Attorney-General George Brandis, who said people had a right to be bigots in relation to his push to amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

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