Canadian Survey Suggests Tensions between “Muslim-Western worlds”

The National Post – September 12, 2011

A majority of Canadians believes conflict between Western nations and the Muslim world is “irreconcilable,” according to a new national survey that revealed a strong strain of pessimism in the country. The survey of 1,500 Canadians, conducted over three days for the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies, showed 56% of respondents see Western and Muslim societies locked in an unending ideological struggle, while about 33% held out hope the conflict will eventually be overcome.

Another 11% of those polled didn’t answer the question. ACS executive director Jack Jedwab said the finding has “serious ramifications” for Canadian policies aimed at bridging divides between cultures, which are based on the premise that citizens believe significant progress in mending such religious and cultural conflicts is achievable.

The results also confirm the findings of other recent surveys highlighting Canadians’ ongoing anxiety about the state of security in the post-9/11 world and their deep doubts about whether the long and bloody war in Afghanistan has done much to thwart the threat of terrorism.

National Post Opinion Writer Suggests Christianity is used as a tool to combat radical Islam in Quebec

The National Post – March 11, 2011
The report from the 2008 commission headed by sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor was supposed to clarify, finally, the boundaries where secular politics and religious accommodation could reside comfortably in Quebec. But in the three years since making public their “reasonable accommodation” recommendations, things have only grown more tense, leading Mr. Bouchard last week to bemoan to a Montreal reporter the persistence of “division among the people.”

“A lot of the debate has been compounded by the growing presence of non-Christians in Canada,” says Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies. “There’s a significant percentage of people who are worried about the threat of non-Christian immigration, and the percentage is not declining.” Worries about hostile Islamists taking advantage of our open society are, he believes, “the dominant issue” hidden beneath the reasonable accommodation debate.

The confrontation doesn’t always look like it’s about Muslims. For decades, the Alberta government was just fine with allowing members of its Hutterite colonies to own special driver’s licences that had no photographs on them, as this conflicted with their beliefs. The province never mentioned any growing concern around Muslim veils, but called it a necessary security measure. But it’s a security measure exactly like the debate over whether veiled women should vote or whether Sikhs can bring kirpans in the National Assembly; post-9/11 any thinking about so-called security measures plainly considers radical Islam top of mind.

Poll Suggests Canadians Don’t Share Values With Muslims

The National Post – September 9, 2010
Nine years after the devastating 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, a majority of Canadians don’t believe Muslims share their values, according to a new public opinion poll released exclusively to Postmedia. The poll, conducted earlier this week by Leger Marketing in Canada and Caravan in the United States, found that 55% of Canadian respondents and 50.3% of Americans disagreed when asked whether “Muslims share our values.”
However, the poll reveals there are also significant regional differences in the way Muslims are viewed in Canada. While 72% of Quebecers said Muslims didn’t share their values, compared to 19% who said they do, that rate dropped to 35.5% in British Columbia where 40.8% saw shared values with Muslims. Ontario and Alberta were closer to the national average. In Ontario, 54.5% said Muslims don’t share their values, compared to 34.9% who said they do, while in Alberta 57.9% of Albertans said values weren’t shared, compared to 32.4% who said they were. Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, which commissioned the poll along with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, said the opinion Canadians have of Muslims has been deteriorating over the past few years. Ayman Al Yassini, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, agreed the situation is getting worse and suggested Canada’s Muslim community reach out more to other Canadians. Jedwab said controversies and media reports in Quebec over the past few years on questions such as the reasonable accommodation of ethnic minorities or Muslim women wearing the niqab face veil likely contributed to the attitudes among Quebecers and francophones.
The surveys were conducted via the web during the week of Sept. 6 with 1,700 respondents in Canada and 1,000 in the U.S. The Canadian survey is considered accurate to within 2.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, while the American survey is considered accurate to within 3.5 percentage points.