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Majority of Muslim Canadians proud to be Canadian, survey finds

Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau poses for a selfie with a supporter in Ottawa, on Oct. 20, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick.

A majority of Muslim Canadians are increasingly proud to be Canadian and have a mostly positive outlook on where the country is headed, according to a new survey.

The poll, which was conducted by Environics Institute between November and January, looked at what it is like to be a Muslim in Canada, and how it has changed over the past decade.

It found 83 per cent of those polled are “very proud” to be Canadian, and that this feeling of attachment has strengthened from 10 years ago, which is when Environics conducted its previous survey, especially in Quebec. In contrast, only 73 per cent of non-Muslim Canadians said they were “very proud” to be Canadian.

Numeric breakdown of Muslim Canadian pride across the country. Graphic via: Survey of Muslims in Canada 2016.
Numeric breakdown of Muslim Canadian pride across the country. Graphic via: Survey of Muslims in Canada 2016.

 

Those polled said their greatest source of Canadian pride lies in its democracy (24 per cent) and its multiculturalism and diversity (22 per cent), followed by its peaceful and stable nature, and humanitarian and friendly people, as well as tolerance and respect for others.

Numeric breakdown of the source of Muslim Canadian pride. Graphic via: Survey of Muslims in Canada 2016.
Numeric breakdown of the source of Muslim Canadian pride. Graphic via: Survey of Muslims in Canada 2016.

 

Fifty-five per cent of those polled also said they have a “very strong sense of belonging” to Canada, compared to 39 per cent who said it is generally strong. And, while 58 per cent said this feeling of belonging has grown over the past give years, five cent of respondents felt it has weakened.

“It shows that Muslims take their citizenship seriously and are very proud to be Canadian, more so that others in the country,” Muneeb Nasir of the Olive Tree Foundation, one of the lead partners of the study, said in a statement.

“However, despite this strong attachment, the fact that 35 per cent of Muslims have reported experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment in the past five years is concerning.”

The survey also found that 84 per cent of Muslims in Canada are treated better than their counterparts in western countries. And 54 per cent also feel that non-Muslim Canadians have a positive view of Islam.

Moreover, 90 per cent of Canadian Muslims polled are optimistic that the Trudeau government will “lead to improved relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

However, at the same time, those polled felt the next generation of Muslim Canadians will face more discrimination and stereotyping than today. In this poll, 35 per cent of Muslims said they have been discriminated against in the past five years due to the their religion or ethnicity.

Muslim Canadians surveyed in the poll said while being Canadian was important in shaping their personal identity, religion also played a strong role. Eight-four per cent said religion was very important while 81 per cent said it was their nationality. Moreover, six in 10 polled believe Muslim women “should have the right to participate in citizenship ceremonies while wearing a niqab.”

The survey surveyed 600 Canadian Muslims 18 years or older between Nov. 19, 2015, and Jan. 23, 2016. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20. It also interviewed 987 non-Muslims between November and January. This sample has a margin of error plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Read the complete survey below, or click here for a mobile-friendly link.

Survey of Muslims in Canada 2016 – Final Report