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More than half of Canadians mistrust Muslims, poll says

22 March 2012 General 48 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Racism in Canada

Racism in Canada


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.

The online poll of 1,522 Canadians, commissioned by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies and Toronto-based Canadian Race Relations Foundation, also highlights how Canadians see the Internet as by far the leading conduit for racism in the country, and that more than one-third of respondents say they’ve “witnessed a racist incident” in the past year.

ACS 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.”

Ayman Al-Yassini, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, said the findings provide more reasons to promote better inter-faith and inter-cultural relations and to “build bridges among different communities” in Canada to combat discrimination.

“This is also more evidence that the Internet has become the major vehicle for spreading hatred and prejudice,” he said.

The data was gathered via web panel over the past weekend, March 17-18, by the polling firm Leger Marketing. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Asked if Muslims can be trusted, a countrywide total of 52 per cent of respondents said either “not at all” or only “a little.” Conversely, 48 per cent of those surveyed said they trusted Muslims “a lot” or “somewhat.”

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 – who regularly register stronger negative responses than English Canadians do toward Muslims – 70 per cent of those surveyed expressed little or no trust in Muslims, compared with 43 per cent of English speakers who said they felt that way.

On the question of who deserves blame for such negative feelings, Muslims again fared significantly worse than other groups in Canadian society.

Forty-two per cent of respondents said they agreed (either “strongly” or “somewhat”) with the statement: “If there is discrimination against Muslims, it is mainly their fault.”

By comparison, 36 per cent of those surveyed said aboriginal Canadians were mainly responsible for any discrimination directed toward them, while respondents considered Jewish Canadians (26 per cent), homosexual Canadians (20 per cent) and Black Canadians (19 per cent) less responsible for the discrimination they suffer.

Pointing to the strongly negative perception towards aboriginal Canadians on that question, Al-Yassini said “we shouldn’t forget that when it comes to anti-racism campaigns, the aboriginal dimension should be upfront and centre.”

Jedwab said he believes the other key finding from the survey offers a clue about why such negative views about Muslims and other some groups continue to pervade the mindset of many Canadians. When asked about where racism finds a home in Canadian society, respondents overwhelmingly identified the Internet as the leading source of discriminatory expression in the country.

Respondents were asked: “Where do you think that racism is most present?” Forty-nine per cent listed the Internet as the No. 1 place for racist views, followed by radio/television (19 per cent), friends and family (11 per cent), work or school (eight per cent), newspapers (eight per cent) and “my neighbourhood” (six per cent).

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.

While traditional newspapers, for example, tend to block out harsh or extreme views from public view, he said, many media websites and other online portals create a virtual “free-for-all” for public comments that can fuel intolerance.

Contributions to online discussions “are not always vetted,” said Jedwab, and hot topics can generate “500 comments in the place of a few hours.”

Even as governments and organizations like the Canadian Race Relations Foundations work to “sensitize” people to the problem of racism, the Internet is swirling with “pejorative commentary,” he said.

At the same time, Jedwab noted, real-time streams of online commentary include contributions from people who are quick to denounce racist views and urge over-the-top writers to “calm down.”

But overall, he said, he fears poorly monitored websites are “giving more legitimacy to hostile expression.”

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News


  1. Why is discrimination against muslims branded as racism? Muslims are not a separate race. They also harbor a violent faction. Not really that hard to figure out.

    Althought the msm is quite silent about the burning of churches, harrasment/massacres of non muslims, etc , word does seep out, as it has for many years.

  2. In the oldie days, refugees and those of us who heard their stories would blame muslims, Turks, etc. for their behavior, but not Islam itself.

    Nowadays the Koran and hadiths are readily available and readers will say – Ha! look at this verse, here is the source of their problem, it is in their religion. Strike evil with your hand when you see it – following that verse alone would cause chaos.

  3. Fuck canadia

  4. I guess stuipidity knows no borders.

  5. It seems like half of the people in the world have no common sense in cases like this.

  6. I mistrust Canadians

  7. For once, something I’m glad we’re worse than Canada at!

  8. what a shame

  9. Scratch Canada off my list

  10. lol. I always hear how Canada is an example of the paradise liberalism creates. But it looks like Canadians are just as susceptible to the propaganda as everyone else is. It just goes to show: in capitalist society, scapegoating is inevitable because it’s required. The men in suits need everyone to be afraid of “the other” so the working class remains weak and disunited. It’s “divide and conquer”.

  11. Yesterday it was Russians. The day before that, it was Jews. Today it’s Muslims. Tomorrow it will be Chinese. It never ends.

  12. I never liked those Canadians, wannabe Americans, can’t trust people that live in frozen tundra, and want to speak French, gee whiz, next thing they will want to play Base Ball and that still won’t make them Americans.

  13. Who cares ?

  14. yes, but 2/3 of them think the same thing about Americans!!!

  15. lol who cares Canadians!! these people do not know anything outside their country

  16. Gotta love how no one mentions how many people are actually taking a survey.. To put up percentages you should also put up the actual number of people asked these questions…Freaking media..bunch of trouble makers along with all the gov’ts

  17. there is no cure for stupidity

  18. Sheeple, Sheeple everywhere

  19. I am a Canadian Muslim and take offense to all the Canadian haters here. How are you any different from what you’re claiming us to be if all you’re doing is just hating on Canadians? First of all, take a study like this with a grain of salt. Their sampling could have been very problematic to begin with. It’s Canadians who allowed my parents to immigrate into Canada, helped bring me into this world, helped educate me in school, and more importantly helped me instill pride and love for being who I am, a Canadian born, Guyanese background, Muslim. Please don’t overlook the support that thousands upon thousands of Canadians have given and continue to give.

  20. Lmaoooo…what a fool statement 😛

  21. just like saying that women are raped because “it’s their fault.” gross.

  22. Classic racism. You can slide any ethnic minority group in where it says “Muslim” and it’s the same old racist crap.

  23. Why would they think they can’t be trusted? Because of experience.

  24. @ Adam Sahib: Who’s hating Canadians? We’re hating propaganda and the sheep it creates. Canadians are just people, and they’re no better and no worse than anyone else. They’re just a bunch of people on one side of a giant invisible line that a bunch of landowners drew on a piece of paper.

  25. @ Sally Carmen: I really doubt that the people in this survey have met every single one of the world’s 1.57 billion Muslims. If they did, they must be quite the spectacular travelers, but most people haven’t met a billion and a half human beings. How can you have experience with people you’ve never met? Oh, look at me, trying to reason with a racist. This is what happens when i’m low on sleep.

  26. Racism = Stupidity

  27. I don’t even get mad anymore. It’s all just so ridiculous

  28. as an american muslim i refuse to believe this survey is truthful. i have been to canada many times and canadians are the most open and loving and trustworthy people i know!

  29. Good lord, Canada

  30. I’m a little irritated that someone even conducted this survey. To what end? And Adam, you’re right – to turn on Canadians is just as wrong. Sally Carmen, I don’t even know where to start with your statement, so I just won’t.

  31. The very fact that there is a 30 per cent gap in the way Muslims are viewed between English speaking and French speaking Canadian is enough proof that the reason for this mistrust is not “Muslims themselves” but rather the worldview of these two communities.

  32. Just glad they are taking such good care of our back yard till we need it. Manifest destiny heading North!!

  33. The Koran is readily available. And guess what. I’ve read it. Taken in proper context, there are no verses in the Koran advocating the sort of violent one sees in small, militant factions all over the earth. Racism is used simply because there isn’t a single word for discrimination by religion. Either way, discrimination based on a person’s personal beliefs is still reprehensible in modern society, especially when you label an entire group, such as Muslims. How can you write off an entire sixth of the world’s population as evil just like that? No ideology is without it’s extremists and nutcases. Marxism and socialism has violent adherents throughout Latin America. Christianity’s reputation is tarnished by groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army or the KKK. People who spread lies, misinformation, and stereotypes about Muslims are not different from Osama bin Laden, Josef Kony, Anders Breivik, or other extremist militants; they want attention, influence, power and prestige, and are willing to ruin the lives of millions to do it.

  34. We cant blame the canadians on these polls.. they said what they saw. but i would still say you cannot generalize. its sad that stupid terrorists hijacked my religion and they are the only bad eggs that led the world to mistrust the entire mulsim population. this is not canadas fault. i as a muslim would say dont blame a religion by just looking at a few bunch of low life radicals, read and study the original PEACEFUL religion. im sure you all would find it very peaceful and opposite to what these radicals practice!. Peace be onto everyone.

  35. It’s so disgusting labelling Muslims in such a negative manner. This whole thing is absolutely ridiculous indeed. Muslims are good people and they shouldn’t all be judged for the actions of the minority criminals. A terrorist is a terrorist and a criminal at that regardless of race creed or religion!!!!!!! come on folks less please give the Muslims a break they are sick and tired of having to defend themselves for being labelled. It’s totally bang out of order and extremely unfair. There is good and bad in all societies. In reality more and more Innocent Muslim men, women and children are being killed every day in their hundreds all over the world. However when they are killed they are viewed as collateral damaged as described by George Bush!!!!!!

  36. @ Those who disagree with this study. I am an Ontario, Canada resident. I confirm that although this is a TRUTHFUL study, and I do agree and believe that many many Canadians are racially prejudice and hesitant (better characteristic) towards muslims, also the dynamic is changing.

    In Canada there is a greater integration with Muslim-NonMuslims, which means more mutual understandings. But the elder generation still has a lot of inherent racism, the way i knew this is through second hand experience. As kids were younger (and more influenced by parents) they had many reservations against muslims. As I entered high-school university, i noticed a lot more diversity and welcoming! So although it is sad, the future is bright!

  37. A couple of generations ago, people were saying the same thing about Jews. Muslims are the new kids on on block. It’s horrible, but it will get better. Inshallah.

  38. Of course they think it’s their fault. It wouldn’t be discrimination if they thought otherwise.

  39. It is not a few extremists. Eliminating non muslims and seizing land and power are stated policies.

    Just because the majority stands about saying “oh dear” does not mean that these policies are not the goal of Islam and the muslims.

  40. siyajkak,

    “Taken in proper context” how do you know that the terrorists aren’t the ones with proper context? i’ve read the koran too. i don’t think it is evil, just poorly written and down right wrong on many occasions. and the hadiths are even worse.

    “People who spread lies, misinformation, and stereotypes about Muslims are not different from Osama bin Laden, Josef Kony, Anders Breivik, or other extremist militants” seriously? misinformation equates to mass murder. come on dude? hay just had a thought. if misinformation is equal to mass murder and the koran has to be taken in proper context, then would not the koran, standing alone without proper context be misinformation? mass murder?

    Surat An-Nūr (The Light) – سورة النور بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


    سورة أنزلناها وفرضناها وأنزلنا فيها آيات بينات لعلكم تذكرون

    [This is] a surah which We have sent down and made [that within it] obligatory and revealed therein verses of clear evidence that you might remember.


    الزانية والزاني فاجلدوا كل واحد منهما مائة جلدة ولا تأخذكم بهما رأفة في دين الله إن كنتم تؤمنون بالله واليوم الآخر وليشهد عذابهما طائفة من المؤمنين

    The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah , if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.


    الزاني لا ينكح إلا زانية أو مشركة والزانية لا ينكحها إلا زان أو مشرك وحرم ذلك على المؤمنين

    The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist, and that has been made unlawful to the believers.


    والذين يرمون المحصنات ثم لم يأتوا بأربعة شهداء فاجلدوهم ثمانين جلدة ولا تقبلوا لهم شهادة أبدا وأولئك هم الفاسقون

    And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient,

  41. Here is a book being sold in Canada and may help some understand the fear of Islam:

  42. What a fine wedding gift that book would make.

    Reminds me of when the replacement GMZ imam said that apostates should do jail time. The thug that is running that place then said no more imams should be in charge because they have a tendency to say the wrong thing. Such as Rauf yelling at the protestors: your children will be muslims!

    It is called Islamic terrorism due to the rants of religious and gov. leaders in muslim places.

  43. People are just responding to the things they see in the Islamic community on a daily basis. I’ve read several articles about the Muslim terrorist who killed seven people in France. The articles noted this Muslim was living on welfare in France, had many arrests as a juvenile and that he financed his killing spree by stealing.His mother refused to talk to her son to get him to surrender and his brother has been quoted as saying he is “proud” of the what this murderer did. Is it any wonder people have a negative view of Islam?

  44. Where is all these racism comments coming from? Is being a Muslim a race? If I switch to the Islamic religion does my race change? I do not think people even understand some of the words they are using to register their disgust. A person can be bigoted in regards to a religion but they cannot be racists.

  45. I am a Canadian who has a mistrust for islam. I’ve read the Koran, the parts that say do not feel bad about lying to the infidel.. It’s because of passages like this that I’ll never believe what you say. You have a violent, expansionist religion that worships a violent, pedophile prophet who had sex with a nine-year old girl. We don’t want to join your misery, if your religion is so great, why do you people wipe your asses with sandrocks back in Afghanistan? Why are you living in the stone ages unless you come to the West? If you hate the west so much, then fucking leave, we will not miss you, go fuck sheep in the desert you fucking sandniggers…. And white men DO NOT want your women, get over it. You claim we’re trying to steal your women, bullshit. They are hideous, that’s why you fucking clowns make them wear bags over their heads.

  46. muslims are a cancer on this planet: spreading into all countries, multiplying out of control then weakening them from the inside. Muslims have the entire political incorrect liberals brainwashed with their false lies of peace (taqiyya) wait until their population rises and they get into political power then the so called “peaceful moderate” muslims will take off their ninja masks and show the true horrifying face of islam

    Nasim Ben Iman, Apostate from Islam in Germany warns the West

  47. The reason for the mistrust should be examined.
    I can say from personal experience that some of the mistrust is not without basis. When I was still in high school, muslim boys were allowed to do as they pleased because the teachers and non-muslim students were afraid to be called islamophobes or racist. I was harassed daily by muslim boys (insulted, tripped, ridiculed) and could say nothing back to them because they would use the “you’re a racist white person” defense and justify further harassment with that. Other non-muslims, especially females, would suffer the same abuse. Teachers would turn a blind eye. Principals would not follow up on complaints.

    So of course I mistrust muslims now, and if I see a group of muslim men I will cross the street to avoid them. Enough of them feel entitled to do as they please that I’m not going to take the risk that they are not going to harass me. …because if they do or say something, I’m not allowed to stand up for myself. That’s “racist”.

  48. people please get some reason for gods sake for anyone who said that muslims are Terrorist don’t judge the book from it’s cover not all muslims are alike and what the media is showing u is just lies and lies and another series of lies it’s what they want u to believe they are brain washing u for gods sake so don’t judge a minority who are doing a very bad thing as way to see and judge all of the muslims and for the ones who are saying that they have read QURAN please just shut the hell up cause non of what u r saying is true there is things u will only understand if u read it all QURAN never say that u should kill people, never say that every muslim should join the jihad that is just wrong cause the term jihad was invented in the time of the prophet mohammed so that the muslims can defend themself againt the bad people who were killing and torturing them infact the prophet mohammed said that no muslim should harm a nonmuslim it’s written in the sunna of the prophet and islam never said that u should mistreat the women infact the real and the true islam have been protecting and defending the rights of women ever since it existed and for the people saying that islam make the women wear hijab no it doesn’t women have the choose if they want to wear it or not they have to be convinced until they wear it no one make them do it so please if u want to judge islam just find someone who have really read the QURAN and knows all about the prophet and ask him ,don’t be ignorant and like i said judge the book from it’s cover

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