Religious Tolerance Improved in Canada but Still Needs Work, Study Shows

A new poll on religious views in Canada shows that while acceptance of religious minorities has improved over the past four years, more work is still needed.

Religious Tolerance

The poll, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, found although some 68 percent of Canadians hold a favorable view of Christianity, only 33 percent view Islam in the same light. Further, Sikhism was viewed favorably by 38 percent, Hinduism by 49 percent, Judaism by 53 percent and Buddhism by 58 percent. The poll also showed 88 percent of Canadians were comfortable with a nun’s habit, but only 75 percent with a hijab and 32 percent with a niqab.

“There is a good news story in these numbers in that attitude towards Islam have improved,” said Amira Elghawaby, a spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

Quebec saw a major jump in favorable ratings, and Elghawaby feels that province’s tragic mosque shooting may have awakened people on the subject. “Perhaps this has humanized Quebec Muslim communities in a way that hadn’t happened before,” she says.

The results were released April 4 at a luncheon held by Cardus, a think tank dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture. Cardus executive vice-president Ray Pennings said the poll shows the need for more outreach, education and understanding: “We have to learn to understand each other and religious literacy is an important part of that.”

For full results of the survey, visit the Angus Reid Institute.

Muslims Canada Angus Reid Institute National Council of Canadian Muslims