Nearly half of Canadians view Islam unfavourably, survey finds

The study found that 46 per cent of Canadians view Islam and clothing associated with the religion unfavourably compared to how they view other religions to like Christianity and Buddhism. Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Even though Canada has been praised for its religious and culture diversity, almost half of Canadians view Islam in an unfavourable light compared to other faiths, according to a new survey.

The Angus Reid Institute released results Tuesday on how Canadians view various faiths and religious symbolism in society.

The study found that 46 per cent of Canadians view Islam and clothing associated with the religion unfavourably compared to how they view other religions to likes of Christianity and Buddhism.

In terms of wearing religious grab in public, 88 per cent of those surveyed supported a person wearing the nun`s habit or a turban (77 per cent) compared to those wearing a niqab (32 per cent) or a burka (29 per cent).

Angus Reid Institute

However, the survey noted that more people are beginning to view Islam in a more favourable light, with Quebec residents leading the way.

Story continues below advertisement

According to the survey, those in Quebec who say they view the Islam faith more favourably has more than doubled since 2009, jump from 15 per cent to 32 per cent. More Quebecers are also seeing Sikhism (32 per cent) and Hinduism (50 per cent) in a more positive light.

The survey was conducted online between February 16 and 22, just over two weeks after Alexandre Bissonnette allegedly opened fire inside a Quebec City mosque killing six men during evening prayers.

Angus Reid Institute executive director Shachi Kurl suggested the deadly mosque attack may have contributed to an increase in support of the Muslim religion.

“Quebecers themselves were very shaken by the event, we did see leadership come out very quickly,” Kurl said. “We saw Premier Philippe Couillard, the mayor and others come out very strongly and say Muslims are Quebecers we are all in this together. Messages of harmony, messages of support and togetherness for the Muslim community.”

Couillard quickly condemned the attack, telling the Quebec’s Muslim community: “We are with you, this is your home, we are all Quebecers.”

As for the rest of Canada, the survey noted that one-in-three Canadians viewed Islam favourably, an increase compared to the Angus Reid Institute’s findings in the 2013, when only one quarter of Canadians viewed the faith in a favourable light. Christianity is still viewed the most favourably among 68 per cent of the survey respondents.

Story continues below advertisement

As for religion and marriage, the survey found only four per cent of Canadians would find it “unacceptable” for one of their children to marry a person who follows the Christian faith compared ot the 32 per cent who would oppose their son or daughter marrying a Muslim (32 per cent) or a Sikh (21 per cent.)

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from February 16 – 22, 2017, among a representative randomized sample of 1,515 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

Sponsored content