Anti-Muslim Sentiments on Rise in Europe, Two out of Five Canadians Also Feel That Way

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Negative sentiments against Muslims and Jews are on the rise in "old Europe" more than anywhere else around the world today, a survey released in September by the Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project has shown.

In contrast, negative attitudes towards Christians in Europe are "less common than negative ratings of Muslims or Jews," the Pew survey said. Nonetheless, it noted that negative attitudes towards Christians are on the rise in a few countries, particularly in Turkey--to 72 per cent from 52 per cent in 2004.

Meanwhile, a recent Leger Marketing poll has shown that nearly two out of five Canadians hold anti-Muslim sentiments.

The Leger survey, commissioned by the Association for Canadian Studies, shows that "more needs to be done to combat discrimination and anti-Muslim sentiment," according to the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN). Anti-Jewish sentiment also increased slightly, with the number of Canadians offering favourable views of Jews dropping to 73 per cent this year from 78 per cent.

The poll, conducted among 1,500 respondents across the country, showed an increase in the number of Canadians with an unfavourable view of Muslims--to 36 per cent this year from 27 per cent. (Respondents were asked whether they had a favourable or unfavourable view of Muslims).

The unfavourable view of Muslims was more pronounced in French Canada. "It is indicative from this poll that more needs to be done by Canadian Muslims to educate the public about Islam and the Muslim community," said Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN community relations director. "At the same time, the poll speaks to the need for the active integration of Canada's growing Muslim population to combat Islamophobia and discrimination." Mr. Gardee noted that earlier studies conducted by the Trudeau Foundation and the Bouchard-Taylor Commission report indicate that Canadians who personally know Muslims tend to have a favourable or highly favourable impression of them and the Islamic faith. …