On My 24th, IDI partnered with Environics and the Olive Tree Foundation for the public presentation of Environics’ 2016 Survey of Muslims in Canada. Kevin Neuman, the executive director of Environics, explained that this study came about as a result of a large study on Muslims conducted by the Pew Research Centre, which did not include Canada.
Mr. Neuman explained that Muslims were seen as the new “other” and not studied very in depth, though they are an important and growing part of Canadian population. This study functions as a “powerful vehicle to amplify voices” and give compelling imperial data in support of these voices.
Environics had done a survey in 2006, and the survey presented today is the followup. It took six and a half years to raise the funds for the 2016 survey, Mr. Neuman said. This included support from the Olive Tree Foundation, the Tessellate Institute, the Inspirit Foundation, and the Canadian Race Relations Foundations. The study was conducted in english, french, urdu, and arabic.
The study showed an increase in pride in being Canadian, especially in Quebec. When asked to write in what was the greatest source of pride, the respondents answered freedom in Canada. When asked what they liked least about Canada, most responded with the cold weather, unsurprisingly. However a quarter of respondents could not think of anything they disliked.
Their sense of belonging was high, as was their satisfaction with the direction of the country with nine out of ten being satisfied. This is in contrast to those in Europe at 30 percent and other Canadians, of which only about 50 percent who are satisfied. This poll was taken just after the 2015 Federal election, with 79 percent of those surveyed voting. Ninety percent of respondents were optimistic that Muslim–Canadian relations would improve.
On the subject of identity, the survey reaffirmed that people have multiple identities. Eight out of ten said that their Muslim and Canadian identities were important. When prompted if one was more important, 50 percent said being Muslims was most important and 50 percent said being Canadian (or both) was most important to them.
There has been an increased since the last survey in terms of attachment to a Muslim identity, head coverings, and attending mosque once a week. Interestingly there has been an increase in religious identity among the youth, but there is a perception that they have the same religiosity as their parents or less than their parents.
When asked about integration into Canadian society, Muslims felt that they and others wanted to integrate into Canadian society. Indeed, even among the non-Muslims who were surveyed there was an increase from 2006 to 2011 in the perception of Muslim integration into Canadian society. The values to adopt were the same among Muslims as they were with non-Muslims: tolerance and english and french fluency.
In terms of the discrimination they have faced, 8 out of 10 felt that they were treated better in Canada than in other Western countries. Those who reported the most discrimination were women born here, those in Quebec, and those from Africa. This included border difficulties for Canadian-born Muslims.
Mr. Neuman summed up the study that Muslims have a positive experience about Canada, despite the discrimination. They are as connected with the positives values as other Canadians, perhaps even more so. Religious identity is growing in a positive way, especially among youth who are less likely to accept discriminatory treatment.
Anita Bromberg, of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, responded to the study by highlighting the importance of these studies. She explained that to counter racism, we need to know each other, especially since inter-community contact is under 50 percent.
Gwen Joy, from the Inspirit Foundation, spoke about their contribution to the youth portion of the study. They asked the young Muslims about the challenges, high expectations, and support. Forty eight percent of the youth interviewed said they had experienced discrimination. Many of these youth had grown up in Canada, being taught values of acceptance and respect for others, expecting to be owed the same treatment they were learning about. Despite this disillusionment, 90 percent of young Muslims rated their belonging to Canada as high or very high.
Mohamed Huque is the President of the Tessellate Institute, which reports on the Muslim experience. The institute was founded in the mid-2000s after a debate on faith based arbitration in family, which turned into accusations of Sharia Law. There was a need for the research to be a way into the community. He commends the maturation of the Muslim community in Canada, citing an exhaustion to show that they are just like other Canadians. Studies like these produce a two-way mirror between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
Muneeb Nasir, President of the Olive Tree Foundation, spoke about the importance of this kind of survey as a way to look beyond the rhetoric. He explained we all have multiple identities that we learn to navigate, and one doesn’t necessarily negate the other. He discussed the concern around the discrimination, the feeling that young Muslims need to deal with violent acts committed in their name, and their increasing engagement with their faith. The internal debate within Muslim communities, he said, reveals a community that is deeply proud to be Canadian but also happy to rediscover their roots.
You are cordially invited to attend a presentation on the
The Environics Institute 2016 Survey of Muslims in Canada
Keith Neuman, Ph.D. Executive Director of the Environics Institute
Anita Bromberg, Executive Director- Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Gwen Joy, Director of Grants and Evaluation – Inspirit Foundation
Mohamed Huque, President – Tessellate Institute
Muneeb Nasir, President – Olive Tree Foundation
Steve Zhou, Journalist
6:00pm – Registration | 6:30pm – Presentation, Responses and Q&A | 8:00pm – Closing
May 24, 2015 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm
481 University Ave, Suite 711, Toronto, ON M5G 2E9
Light refreshments will be served.
About the Environics Institute 2016 Survey Of Muslims In Canada
The survey reveals what it is like to be Muslim in Canada, and how this has changed over the past decade.
The results show that Muslims as a whole are embracing Canada’s diversity, democracy and freedoms, and feeling more positive about the country than a decade ago. This is despite continuing to experience discrimination due to religion and ethnicity, well above levels experienced by the Canadian population-at-large.
This survey is a follow-up to the first-ever national survey of the country’s Muslim population conducted by the Environics Institute in 2006. In both cases, a complementary survey of the non-Muslim population was also conducted to provide comparative measures of mainstream opinions about the Muslim community.
Key findings from the new survey include the following:
- The vast majority (83%) of Muslims feel very proud to be Canadian, and this sentiment has strengthened since 2006 (especially in Quebec). By comparison, 73 percent of non-Muslims feel similarly proud to be Canadian.
- Most (84%) believe Muslims in Canada are treated better than Muslims are treated in other western countries, and this view has strengthened since 2006 (when it was 77%). An increasing majority also believe that non-Muslim opinions of Islam are generally positive (54%) rather than negative (32%). Non-Muslim opinion is in fact more positive than negative, although no more so than 10 years ago.
- One-third (35%) of Muslims report having experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly in the past five years, primarily due to their religion or ethnicity, but also because of their language or sex. This incidence is unchanged from 2006, and is approximately 50 percent higher than for the Canadian population-at-large.
- Nine in ten (90%) Muslims are optimistic the new federal government will lead to improved relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. At the same time, Muslims are more likely to believe the next generation of Muslims will face more discrimination and stereotyping than Muslims do today, and this view is most prevalent among Muslim youth.
The 2016 survey of Muslims in Canada was conducted by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, in partnership with the Tessellate Institute, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, the Inspirit Foundation, the Olive Tree Foundation, and Calgary-based Think for Actions.