After welcoming almost 12,000 refugees to their region, three-quarters of Canadians living in the province of Ontario now say that Muslim immigrants hold fundamentally different values and a majority believe mainstream Islam promotes violence, according to a new survey to be released this week.
The survey was funded by the province and the city of Toronto as part of a joint educational campaign “to address xenophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiments.”
While 60 percent of Ontarians say they initially supported the decision to import Syrian refugees, 75 percent now say Muslim immigrants hold fundamentally different values and a majority now say Islam’s mainstream doctrines promote violence. Only one-third of those in the region have a positive impression of the religion.
Three-quarters of Ontarians wish their country would focus on taking care of its own citizens instead of devoting resources to foreign refugees.
A majority of Ontarians — 53 percent — say Canada should only accept immigrants from countries with similar values as their own and 74 percent say Canada needs to be more strict about the immigrants it accepts into the country.
The Toronto Star, which first reported the survey results, claimed that negative views of Islam were equivalent to Islamophobia. The lede for the story read: “While Canada rides a wave of global praise for welcoming Syrian refugees, a new poll suggests we’re also facing a wave of something sinister — Islamophobia.”
Canadian officials are also interpreting the results to mean an increase in Islamophobia. “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),” the survey said.
According to a report this past May, Toronto has witnessed a steady flow of domestic violence complaints from Syrian women. The city is averaging one complaint per week from Syrian women claiming to be victims of domestic violence.