Muslims face negative perception in Canada, study suggests

A new national survey that tapped the level of “positiveness” that Canadians feel toward selected groups suggests that Muslims – significantly more than 10 other subsets of society – remain a magnet for negativity a decade after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

Just 43 per cent of the 2,345 people polled by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies expressed “very positive” or “somewhat positive” perceptions of Muslims, while atheists (60 per cent) and aboriginals (61 per cent) also drew relatively lukewarm responses.

Meanwhile, seven other groups generated positive perceptions from respondents. Chinese people, who narrowly topped the results at 75 per cent, were followed by Protestants, Blacks and Hispanics/Latin Americans (all 74 per cent), Catholics (73), Jews (72) and francophones (70). The category “immigrants” prompted positive responses from 68 per cent of those surveyed.

The results were drawn from an online poll covering a range of issues and conducted by the firm Leger Marketing between Sept. 20 and Oct. 3. The survey is considered to have a margin of error of two per cent, 19 times out of 20.

ACS executive director Jack Jedwab said the markedly more negative response to Muslims is matched by similar polling results in Britain and the U.S., making clear that the challenge of improving perceptions of the vast majority of Muslims who reject Islamist extremism is a multinational task.

Postmedia News, 15 October 2011