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Canada's Muslims - Environics Poll

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Canada's Muslims, an international comparison
Last Updated Feb. 13, 2007 CBC News
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Are we talking past each other? A new poll carried out in conjunction with the CBC suggests just that as it seeks to plumb the attitudes of Canadian Muslims and their fellow citizens toward each other.

Take for example the whole issue of fitting in. The survey by Environics Research Group asks respondents if they feel Muslims coming to Canada want to adopt Canadian customs or remain distinct from the larger society.

For non-Muslim Canadians, 57 per cent feel Muslims want to remain distinct from everyone else — but only 23 per cent of Muslim Canadians feel that way: A full 55 per cent say they want to fit in.

Related story: Glad to be Canadian, Muslims say
How exact is that finding? It's hard to say. The Environics poll queries 2,045 members of the general public and 500 Muslim Canadians and has an accuracy in the smaller sample of 4.4 percentage points either way, 19 times out of 20.

It should probably also be seen alongside a Pew Global Attitudes poll in early 2005. The respected American research centre found 60 per cent of Muslims here saw themselves as distinct from the general Canadian population. If both surveys are right, that would represent a remarkable sea change in attitudes in the space of a couple of years.

Still, clear that away — along with some other misconceptions Canadians have about their Muslim compatriots — and a remarkably different portrait appears of Canada's Muslim population.

Compared to their counterparts in the U.K., Germany, France and Spain, who were polled on a handful of similar issues by the Pew Research Centre, Canadian Muslims appear to be the most contented, moderate and, well, Canadian in the developed world.
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Baden Guy:

Well written article on the same theme. For those of us who live in the GTA we deal with the challenge of learning to adapt to each other on a daily basis.

Of rednecks and the rural-urban solitudes


Tuesday, March 27, 2007 – Page A16

If there's one thing that yesterday's Quebec election proved, it's that intolerance remains a force in Canadian politics. To their everlasting disgrace, too many urban intellectuals have chosen to reinforce it.

In small-town Ontario, right up until the 1960s, some citizens refused to vote for a Catholic. These Anglo-Saxon Protestants were good people, by and large: God-fearing, neighbour-loving, honest and charitable.

But their ancestors had emigrated to Canada from the British Isles, and they had inherited from those ancestors a reflexive dislike of Catholics in general and Irish Catholics in particular. The Irish were called dogans and those from Southern or Eastern Europe were wops or polacks or bohunks. None of them, the WASPs were convinced, could be trusted with public office, because Catholics were all in thrall to the Pope.

Those good old boys and girls are all dead now, and anti-Catholic sentiment has disappeared from Ontario, to the best of this writer's knowledge. Most readers have probably never even heard the words dogan or bohunk before. Things get better.

But as the Quebec election has demonstrated, Canada's rural regions continue to harbour obnoxious attitudes. Although Mario Dumont is not half so objectionable as Jean-Marie Le Pen, the Action Démocratique du Québec is tapping the same vein of intolerance in Quebec that the National Front courts in France.

Mr. Dumont has censured candidates in his party who disparage Jews, Muslims and homosexuals, but his surge in popularity in part stems from his stand on the "reasonable accommodation" debate. Quebec society, Mr. Dumont complains, has gone too far in placating the demands of immigrants, who should adapt to Quebec culture rather than expect Quebeckers to adapt to them.

Because Quebec is a nationalist society, and because the oxygen of nationalism is suspicion of the Other, this sort of thing plays well, especially in the old-stock communities outside Montreal.

But English Canada is not immune to this bilge. In the very best salons of Toronto and Vancouver, as well as on main-street Saskatchewan, anti-immigrant diatribes are increasingly common. Too many Muslim and Sikh Canadians aren't properly integrating into Canadian society, goes the complaint. Their religious attitudes demean women and disparage our democratic traditions. You find this argument coming from hijab-hating feminists as much as rednecks, from the left as much as from the right.

But wherever it comes from, substitute "Catholic" for "Muslim" and we're right back to small-town Ontario two generations ago.

So, on this day, when atavistic Quebeckers have bolstered the fortunes of a party of intolerance -- though we should also recognize that some of those votes are simply a reaction against the old elite accommodation -- let's remind ourselves of a few things.

First, Canada has a Constitution, including a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and a body of common and statutory law rooted in British and French political, cultural and legal traditions. These traditions are so robust that they are on the cusp of becoming universal norms. To suggest they are threatened in this country by a tiny minority of immigrants is ludicrous.

Second, about 250,000 immigrants arrive here every year. The places where they settle are dynamic and prosperous. The places they avoid are dying.

Third, opinion leaders who single out a small group of immigrants, accusing them of refusing to fit in, condemning their culture, and ostracizing them from the mainstream, are nothing but bullies and bigots who contribute to the very radicalization they condemn.

So, to all the ADQ backbenchers and small-town mayors who disparage the latest batch of new arrivals, this message: Go ahead. You and your prejudices will fade away, and your towns will disappear, unless you can find a way to attract the very people you love to denigrate. And to the urban feminist who echoes their sentiments: For the love of Mike, woman, look who you're consorting with.


The point system works
Canada gets amazing immigrants
Muslisms are Canadian, I do hope all Canadians would think of themsleves as Canadians first but its up to ever individual canadian to make that choice.

Colin P:

I have met Muslims that want to fit in, and they are generally the less devout kind, the more devout seem to see Canada as a safe place where they can do there own thing and will cherry pick which rights they want. They get pissed when they find out the same rights and freedoms that applies to them, also applies to their wives and daughters.  ::)


I've also met ones that are nice and want to fit in but,

--- Quote ---Fully 12% of Muslim Canadians support beheading the Prime Minister and blowing up Parliament and the CBC,
--- End quote ---

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