NCCM comments on new public opinion poll about Islam

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – October 3, 2013) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) says that an opinion survey released today by Angus-Reid examining public sentiment towards Islam indicates more needs to be done to overcome misinformation about a faith  followed by over a million Canadians.

The study’s results closely mirror those from an earlier 2009 poll with one notable exception showing an 8% increase, from 46% to 54%, in unfavourable opinion about Islam across Canada and outside of Quebec – wherein Islam also remains the only faith viewed unfavourably by a majority of Canadians.

« It must be remembered that this poll only represents a snapshot in time and does not detail the reasons why people hold such negative views about Islam or whether they view Muslims in a similar light, » says Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM Executive Director.

« Today’s Angus-Reid poll results, while interesting from an academic perspective and to a degree somewhat concerning, must be interpreted and understood through the lens of current circumstances, » Gardee added.

« Clearly, more needs to be done to address negative perceptions about Islam in general and to challenge the myths that exist and which are often recycled by anti-Muslim commentators whose agenda-driven polemics serve to demonize and marginalize particular communities. However, just as the challenge exists on multiple levels, so too is there no single, easy solution. »

« We call on all Canadians – Muslims and their fellow citizens – to reflect upon this poll’s results and use it as a catalyst to spur and renew their own education and outreach efforts to help build bridges and develop relationships based on mutual understanding. Political leaders from across the spectrum, community leaders and educators play an especially important role in leveraging this as a teachable moment. »

October is Islamic History Month Canada (IHMC) which provides a number of resources people can use and reference in these efforts. NCCM also produces Guides to Islamic Religious Practices for Employers, Educators, Health Care Providers and Journalists and provides Islamic Awareness seminars for the public and private sectors.

NCCM is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan grassroots advocacy organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704; 613.853.4111