New poll highlights strong sense of national pride among Canadian Muslims

Discrimination & negative media coverage are high on list of concerns

(Ottawa – April 27, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, welcomes today’s new survey of Canadian Muslims by the Environics Institute.

The comprehensive survey comes ten years after a landmark study was conducted by Environics in 2006 and provides important information and insights about Canadian Muslim communities, as well as general perceptions among wider Canadian society.

Among the topics in the survey, Canadian Muslims were asked about pride and belonging, Muslim identity and practice, personal experiences with discrimination, and perceptions of domestic support for violent extremism.

The full study report can be viewed here.

Some of the key findings of survey of Canadian Muslims include:

Pride & Belonging

  • A strong majority (83%)  said they were very proud to be Canadian, up from 73% in 2006.
  • Greatest source of pride was living in a free country & Canada’s diversity.
  • Least liked was the cold weather.
  • A strong majority (79%) participated in the last federal election.

National Security

  • A majority (57%) are satisfied with the current powers of Canada’s security agencies.
  • Close to half (48%) said Bill C-51 infringes too much upon civil liberties.
  • A third (31%) said they are very worried about violent extremism.
  • A strong majority (87%) said it is important for Muslim communities to work with government agencies to address radicalization.

Attitudes & Treatment

  • A majority (54%) believe that the views of their fellow Canadians towards the religion of Islam are generally positive.
  • A strong majority (84%) of Canadian Muslims believe they are treated better than those living in other western countries, up from 2006.
  • A majority (53%) say they believe Muslims want to adopt Canadian customs.


  • A third (35%) said they experienced discrimination or unfair treatment in Canada in the past five years.
  • Two-thirds said the discrimination took place in the workplace/ job applications (35%), and in public spaces (34%).
  • A third (35%) identified the most important issue facing Muslims in local communities was treatment & discrimination by broader community.
  • A quarter (25%) said they have experienced difficulty crossing borders due to race, ethnicity or religion.
  • A third (32%) said they were concerned with how the media portrays Muslims.
  • A third (35%) believe the next generation of Muslims will face more discrimination/stereotyping.

Wider society

  • Less than half of non-Muslim Canadians (42%) have a positive opinion of Islam, though fewer non-Muslim Canadians have a negative opinion than in 2006.
  • Close to half of non-Muslim Canadians (43%) believe “just some” Canadians are hostile to Muslims.
  • A third of non-Muslim Canadians (34%)  believe that Muslims want to adopt customs, 43% say they want to remain distinct.

“There is a lot of good news in the survey,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee. “A majority of Canadian Muslims have a strong sense of belonging to Canada, as well as report a positive sense of how they are perceived by their fellow citizens.  That bodes well for all of us who are working to promote civic engagement and to promote greater understanding of diverse communities.

“A majority of Canadian Muslims are also committed to working with government to address issues of violent radicalization, and believe that there is little support for such behaviour.  However, there are also issues of concern.  One-third of Canadian Muslims report experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment in the past five years, and believe that will increase.  Although a significant majority believes Muslims in Canada are treated better compared to those living in other Western countries.”

“While there appears to be much work left to do to help improve public perceptions of Canadian Muslims and Islam, the fact that a majority of Canadians believe in accommodating religious practices illustrates that protecting human rights, including religious freedoms, are important values in our democracy,” says Amira Elghawaby, NCCM’s Communications Director and a study advisor.

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