(71% of Canadians Support Motion M103)

Canadians who have met a Muslim or have a Muslim friend support Motion M103, whereas Canadians of other faiths, who have never met or don’t know a Muslim, do not support Motion M103 and do not have favourable views of Muslims and Islam.

Background

The Canadian Community Engagement Study was undertaken because crimes against Muslims in Canada have recently increased by 60% from 2014 to 2015. This attitude was one of the leading factors that led to the death of six men and injured 19 others, when Alexandre Bissonnette opened fire in Quebec Masjid on January 30, 2017.

Introduction

The Canadian Community Engagement Study was undertaken to understand the level of communication between Canadian Muslims and their fellow Canadians. Think for Actions and Insights Matter, along with nine researchers, eleven advisors and nineteen students from eight different Canadian Universities designed and conducted the survey. All Canadians 18 years of age and older could participate in the survey.

Methodology

A non-discriminative snowball sampling approach was used to obtain survey respondents. Because snowball sampling is a non-probability sampling technique, the individuals surveyed are not necessarily representatives of the Canadian Muslims or Canadian population. Despite this, the results revealed significant insights into the perceptions of Muslims and fellow Canadians along with the challenges facing the Muslim Community and Canadians in general. These findings are important and will be used to inform major future research efforts.

Results

A total of 1048 Canadians across Canada participated in an online survey from March 13, 2017 to August 12, 2017. The data is a fair representation of Canadians across the country with: age, gender, faith (most support comes from the Jewish committee), employment status, education, marital status, and total annual household income.

Individuals Who Supported Motion M103

Support for Motion M103 comes from the individuals who:

  • Occasionally to often meet with Muslims;
  • Personally had a Muslim friend;
  • Personally, have some Muslim acquaintances and/or knew a Muslim;

The Individuals Who Oppose Motion M103

Opposition to Motion M103 comes from the individuals who:

  1. Don’t believe that systemic racism and religious discrimination is on the rise:
  • They believe racism, religious discrimination, hate crimes, homophobia, and Islamophobia are not at all a significant problem
  1. Don’t believe in the current stats of religious discrimination/Islamophobia and are not convinced that the vulnerable Canadians should be helped:
  • They disagree that there is an increasing climate of hatred and fear towards Muslims in Canada;
  • They disagree that Islamophobia, racism, and discrimination is a growing problem in Canada
  • They disagree that the government of Canada should invest time, effort, and resources towards reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia;
  1. Don’t have a positive impression of the Canadian Muslims and Islam:
  • Their impression of Muslims is generally negative and is becoming worse;
  • They describe their understanding of Muslims or Islam as very good to excellent;
  • They did not have a Muslim friend;
  • They strongly agree that the religion of Islam is misunderstood, suppresses women’s rights and is not tolerant of other faiths;
  • They also agree that Muslims are not tolerant of those who do not share their faith;
  1. They believe that Canadian Muslims do not have equal rights as Canadians of other faiths and beliefs:
  • They disagree that Canadian Muslims should be treated no differently than any other Canadian;
  • They do not agree that Muslims should be allowed to observe their faith in Canada;
  • They want that Muslims should discontinue their religious/ cultural practices and should be forced to adopt Canadian customs and values;
  • They do not believe in the fact that when it comes to Muslims, the average Canadian has an ‘ us and them’ mentality;

Next Steps

1.  The Muslim Community

  • There is a strong need to have Imams raised in North America so that they can relate to the issues faced by Canadian Muslim youth and improve communication within the Muslim community and with other communities;
  • Muslim leadership needs a significant reform to appropriately represent Canadian Muslims within and outside of Muslim community;
  • Muslims need to increase communication outside of their community and with individuals of other faiths;
  • Almost half of the Canadians believe that religion of Islam suppresses women’s rights. There is a strong need for Muslims to educate fellow Canadians on Islam;

2.  Media

  • Media needs to stop representing ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Taliban and other similar networks as Islamic or Muslims since they carry the same connection to Islam as KKK has to Christianity. Majority of Muslims believe that this kind of reporting leads to increase in Islamophobia.

3.  Government

  • The government of Canada should invest resources towards reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia as 71% of Canadians support motion M103;
  • An urgent action needs to address the fact that 2/3 of Muslims have personally experienced discrimination due to their race or ethnicity in the last 5 years;
  • There need to be a clear message and communication to Canadians that Canadian Muslims while striving to maintain their religious/cultural practices, are adopting Canadian customs and values and are integrating.

4.   Average Canadian

  • The average Canadian needs to stop the ‘us and them’ mentality, meet a Muslim and know about them rather than knowing Islam and Muslims through media and Trump.

5.  Think for Actions

  • Think for Actions plans to undertake another study in future, to assess systemic racism and religious discrimination, in order to identify how these issues can be addressed.

Dr. Mukarram Zaidi’s Statements for Think for Actions Initiatives:

 Canadian Community Engagement Study

“The objective of the survey is to understand the issues, bring out the best in us, make sure that we have enough programs that prevent marginalization in the community”

“Sound research, open dialog and discussion will challenge ignorance by addressing fear”

“We encourage Canadian from other faiths and beliefs to meet and interact with their Muslim neighbors to get an understanding of who they really are.”

“By research and dialog, e aim to deconstruct Islamophobia/alienation by educating Canadians and Canadian Muslim institutions on the roots, effects, and remedies to discrimination, marginalization, and systemic racism.”

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