Survey shows Muslim population is fastest growing religion in Canada

May 8, 2013

By Jordan Press

 

OTTAWA — The Islamic centre in Saskatoon is experiencing growing pains. Friday services have been split in two so local streets aren’t clogged with traffic. City officials and nearby residents are working with the centre to answer questions like where to put more parking?

“We have been experiencing this kind of steady increase for a while,” said Amin Elshorbagy, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress.

“We can see this in terms of the need to expand our infrastructure. Most of our Islamic centres are becoming very crowded.”

Across the country, the Muslim population is growing at a rate exceeding other religions, according to Statistics Canada. It is even growing faster than the number of Canadians identifying as having no religion, though just barely, according to the National Household Survey released Wednesday.

The Muslim population exceeded the one million mark, according to the survey, almost doubling its population for the third-consecutive decade.

However, the survey results should be taken with caution. Experts say the voluntary nature of the survey, which replaced the mandatory long-form census, leaves gaps in the data from groups that tend not to respond to such surveys, such as new immigrants.

Experts believe the data provide a fairly good, broad picture of Canada, but data on smaller groups may have less reliable information.

As mosques become more commonplace and more women wear the niqab, there are growing debates about religious accommodations.

“We need to sit down as Muslims, not as a community because there isn’t one community, and decide what we want to be accommodated and what we want to give up,” said Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

That internal debate in the Muslim community sometimes gets sidetracked, largely because of the backdrop of violence done in the name of religion, which Canadian Muslims regularly condemn.

“It is an additional pressure and a big one on the Muslim community,” Elshorbagy said.

“We need to be extra nice just because we’re Muslims. We need to go beyond certain limits, which is very unfortunate for people like me,” he said. “Sometimes the media will call something Islamic terrorism — once you call it Islamic, you’ve brought me into the picture even though I haven’t done something wrong.”

And with their numbers now reportedly over the one million mark, the pressures are likely to mount.

“Polling has shown that Canadian Muslims are proud to be Canadian, more so than the average Canadian,” said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Canadian Muslims very much want to integrate and be part and parcel of the society.”

One-on-one, non-Muslims may have favourable views of their Islamic colleagues, but that feeling doesn’t always extend to the wider Muslim population, said Pamela Dickey Young, a professor of religion and culture at Queen’s University.

“It isn’t like Canadian Muslims have not tried to educate the Canadian populace…but for some reason there’s still that edge with it that some Canadians have problems getting over,” Dickey Young said.

Muslims now represent 3.2 per cent of the country’s total population, nudging up from the two per cent recorded in 2001.

Immigration has largely fuelled the increase, with the largest share coming from Pakistan over the past five years, according to Statistics Canada.

But the survey provides no breakdown of type of Muslims living in Canada, as the survey didn’t ask respondents, for instance, whether they were Shiite or Sunni.

“People keep blocking us into one cohesive mass and we’re not that at all,” Hogben said.

 

National Post: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/08/survey-shows-muslim-population-is-fastest-growing-religion-in-canada/

 

Mixed-Muslim marriage in Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Sun – May 30, 2012
Multi-faith Metro Vancouver is a place of high rates of intermarriage and inter-ethnic dating. Islam, now the second largest religion in Canada, teaches that it is sinful for Muslim women, but not Muslim men, to marry outside the faith.
Professor Yvonne Haddad, a prominent Islamic scholar at the University of Massachussets, says that Canadian census figures, which are far more detailed than U.S. census data, reveal the extent of the marriage threat to North America’s roughly two million Muslim women. Statistics Canada census data shows that roughly 30 per cent of Canadian Muslim women marry non-Muslim men, says Haddad.
Children are the crux of the Muslim law against women marrying outside the faith. Islam teaches that Muslim identity is transferred through the father. That makes it all right for Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women, because they don’t pass on the faith.
“There is a lot of heartache if a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim,” says Fehmida Khan, president of the Canadian Muslim Women’s Association. She explains that Muslim imams and other religious officials won’t talk to non-Muslims about difficulties followers have with marriage.
Only about four per cent of foreign-born Muslim women in Canada will intermarry, says Hassan Hamdani, a Muslim researcher who studies Muslim demographics through his job with Statistics Canada in Ottawa. But evidence of second-generation Muslims embracing Canadians’ openness to intermarriage is strong, Hamdani says. Almost 40 per cent of Canadian-born Muslim families consist of a Muslim wife and non-Muslim husband.

Hate crimes in Canada down in 2010

The Globe and Mail – April 12, 2012

 

After two years of increases, Canadians reported fewer hate crimes in 2010, especially in Vancouver and southern Ontario, Statistics Canada said. Most of the decrease was a result of fewer reported violent hate crimes, Statscan said in releasing its latest annual survey for hate-motivated offences.

The most common victims of violent hate crimes were gays (100 incidents) and blacks (75 incidents). Jews were the most targeted religious group, accounting for 55 per cent of religiously-motivated incidents in 2010 while Muslims (14 per cent) and Catholics (14 per cent) were the other faiths most often victimized. Gays were more likely to be victims of violent hate crimes. Two-thirds of incidents targeting gays were violent. A third of racially-motivated offences and 17 per cent religiously-motivated crimes were violence.

Mosque Travels from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Inuvik, Northwest Territories

The Globe and Mail – September 2, 2010
By the time it reaches Inuvik, the prefabricated mosque strapped to Kevin Anderson’s truck will have earned a place in the record books – even before the first worshippers pass through its door. The structure will become the most northerly mosque in North America. The mosque is significant of the aggregate religious ambitions of an Arctic community’s Muslims, the changing spiritual mores of Canada’s North and a major logistical pain in the neck.
Three weeks from now, roughly 100 Muslim worshippers in Inuvik, NWT, are expected to pray at the building, a replacement for the 50-year-old trailer they currently use. The mosque’s journey will take it from Winnipeg to Edmonton, then north to Hay River, where a barge will float it toward the shores of the Mackenzie Delta, home to Inuvik’s 3,600 residents. The country’s Muslims – long seen as an urban population – are migrating to smaller resource towns in search of boomtown riches and a better quality of life. The Muslim population of the Northwest Territories alone is growing at a rate of 300 per cent every decade, according the latest Statistics Canada numbers. And Islamic groups in Timmins, Prince George and Whitehorse are all in various stages of mosque construction.
The foundation researched building a mosque in Inuvik from scratch, but cost estimates ran over $550,000. Dr. Guisti found they could save $200,000 by having a Winnipeg company construct a prefab building and then haul the structure by road and river.

Columnist Haroon Siddiqui responds to latest demographic forecasts in Canada

Statistics Canada has released its population projections to 2031. The population of visible minorities is expected to rise from one in every five Canadians to one in three – potentially to 14.4 million. In 2031, the Toronto CMA (census metropolitan area, Oshawa to Burlington) would be nearly two-thirds non-white – 5.6 million. Among them, South Asians would have tripled to 2.1 million. Chinese would be 1.1 million. Vancouver also would be almost two-thirds non-white. Montreal would continue to lag in diversity. Only one in three would be non-white. Blacks (mostly Haitians, like Michaëlle Jean) would double to 381,000.
While immigration would remain a big-city phenomenon, mid-size cities would change as well. “VizMins” would double their numbers in Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener, Oshawa, Peterborough, etc. Similarly, there have always been two Canada’s – urban and rural. What is different today is that most non-whites live in cities. Lastly, immigrants and visible minorities will remain better educated than the native-born and also much younger

StatsCan Notes Decline in Hate Crimes Against Arabs and West Asians in 2007

The Canadian Statistical Agency, Statistics Canada has released data which claims that police services reported 785 crimes that were motivated by hate in 2007, down from 892 in 2006.

Statistics Canada says race or ethnicity continues to be the most common motivation for reported hate crimes. There were 185 religiously-motivated incidents in 2007, down from 220 in 2006. There were fewer incidents targeting Jews and Muslims. Incidents against Jews continued to account for about two-thirds of all hate crimes motivated by religion.