Survey finds deep mistrust for Muslims in Canada

March 27, 2012

c. 2012 Religion News Service
TORONTO (RNS) A new poll shows that more than half of all Canadians distrust
Muslims.

The nationwide survey indicates that as many as 52 percent of Canadians feel
Muslims can be trusted "a little" or "not trusted at all." The poll showed that
48 percent of respondents said Muslims can be trusted "a lot" or "somewhat."

What's more, 42 percent of Canadians said discrimination against Muslims is
"mainly their fault."

Muslims registered the lowest levels of trustworthiness of the religious
groups asked about in the survey.

Overall, about 70 percent of respondents expressed high levels of trust in
Protestants, Catholics and Jews, while 64 percent trusted aboriginal Canadians
and 63 percent trusted immigrants.

Among French Canadians, only 30 percent said they trust Muslims, compared
with 57 percent of English speakers who said they felt that way.

The online poll surveyed 1,522 Canadians on attitudes toward religions,
multiculturalism and sources of racism. The survey was conducted for the
Association for Canadian Studies in Montreal and the Toronto-based Canadian Race
Relations Foundation as part of the International Day for the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination on March 21.

Nearly half of those surveyed, 49 percent, listed the Internet as the number
one source of racism and prejudice.

Sociologist Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian
Studies, described the results as a "disturbing" sign that not only do Canadians
hold discriminatory views, but they then say, "If we feel this way about you,
it's your fault."

A 2007 poll conducted in 23 Western countries showed Canadians had the most
tolerant attitudes toward Muslims. Only 6.5 percent of Canadians said they would
not like to live next door to a Muslim, compared to 11 percent of Americans.

The online survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage
points.