A new poll reinforces a bleak truth that many of us have probably known for a long time—almost half of Canadians have a negative opinion about Islam.
It's not hard to see this sentiment having a real world impact, whether it be the rise of a far-right looking to “counter terrorism,” the many anti-Islam rallies across the country, or recent laws specifically targeting Muslims being passed.
The poll, conducted by Angus Reid in October and published this week, shows that while Canadians feel like Canada benefits from the Judeo-Christian religions (the biggest benefit being from Catholicism,) the country also feels negative impacts are arising from Sikhism, Atheism and Islam.
However, the percentage of Canadians thinking Sikhism or Atheism is hurting the country is under 25% while Islam sits at 46%.
“Twice as many Canadians say the presence of Islam in their country’s public life is damaging as say the same about any other religion, a finding that follows a well-documented pattern in Angus Reid Institute polling in recent years. Namely: if Islam is involved, a significant segment of Canadians will react negatively,” reads the write up accompanying the poll.
Another major question that showed the prevalence of Islam in Canadians mind, was when they were asked what religions were gaining influence was growing within Canada. Again, for this questions, Canadians overwhelmingly singled out Islam among the other religions—65% of Canadians think it's influence is growing.
Overall, it seems like Canadians are of the belief that the influence of Judeo-Christian religions are waning and being outpaced by the other religions in the country, mainly Islam. There are many reasons why this could be, but the mainstreaming of the counter-jihad conspiracy and hucksters using scare tactics in regards to Sharia law almost certainly play a role.
Further findings of the poll indicate that a quarter of Canadians think that religious diversity is a net negative for Canadian society (44% thought it was a mix of good and bad.) It also found that Canadians seem to be souring on the idea of freedom of religion as only 55% of those responding said they believe it makes the country better—14% said it made it worse and the rest said no impact.
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