More than half of all Canadians believe Muslims can’t be trusted and nearly as many believe discrimination against Muslims is mainly their fault, according to the results of a new national survey released ahead of Wednesday’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. (What ‘race’ is Islam?)
CANADA ACS (who conducted the poll) executive director Jack Jedwab described the results as a disturbing sign that racism not only remains a problem in the country but that many Canadians feel comfortable holding transparently discriminatory views, then saying things like: “If we feel this way about you, it’s your fault.” “This is also more evidence that the Internet has become the major vehicle for spreading hatred and prejudice,” said Ayman Al-Yassini, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
Asked if Muslims can be trusted, a countrywide total of 52 per cent of respondents said either not at all or only a little. No other group asked about in the survey registered such low levels of trustworthiness. Overall, 71 per cent of respondents expressed significant levels of trust in Protestants, 70 per cent trusted Catholics, 69 per cent trusted Jews, 64 per cent trusted aboriginal Canadians and 63 per cent trusted immigrants.
Among French Canadians, 70 per cent of those surveyed expressed little or no trust in Muslims. On the question of who deserves blame for such negative feelings, Muslims again fared significantly worse than other groups in Canadian society.
Jedwab said the relatively unfettered character of communication via the Internet may be reinforcing, spreading and amplifying negative impressions of various groups in Canada, though particularly Muslims.