As the world commends Canada for welcoming Syrian refugees, a new poll suggests the country may simultaneously be facing a rise in Islamophobia.
According to a new survey conducted by MARU/VCR&C – which measured public perceptions of ethnicity and immigration in Ontario – there is an ‘epidemic of Islamophobia in Ontario’
“There is an epidemic of Islamophobia in Ontario. Only a third of Ontarians have a positive impression of the religion and more than half feel its mainstream doctrines promote violence (an anomaly compared to other religions),” said the 51-page survey which is due to be released this week by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and advocacy group Mass Minority.
“These sentiments are echoed with Syrian refugees in Ontario where acceptance often coincides with acceptance of Islam.”
Recently, Ontario has seen a number of incidents targeting Muslims. Last month, a Muslim woman, shopping with her four-month-old son, was attacked in a supermarket in London, Ontario. As she shopped, another woman started yelling at her.
The survey’s respondents agreed that immigrants play a valuable role in society (72 per cent) and are an important part of Canadian cultural identity (71 per cent), however, three-quarters of the survey participants said the country needs to focus on taking care of the people “here” instead of spending resources on refugees.
Further, while 46 per cent of Ontarians feel Canada admits too many immigrants, 45 per cent said they welcomed the right amount.
“Higher and lower levels of acceptance are associated with distinct demographic profiles,” according to the report.
The survey also revealed that three-quarters of Ontarians feel Muslim immigrants have fundamentally different values, largely due to perceived gender inequality, the survey found.
The results of the poll are considered precise within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
This article originally appeared on The Star