But as federal policy strives to encourage newcomers to put down roots and fit in, the poll highlights an equal need for the Canadian majority to take a hard look at its distorted preconceptions about religious minorities.
“It astonishes and saddens me as a Canadian,” said Angus Reid chief research officer Andrew Grenville, who has been probing Canadians’ views on religion for 16 years.
“I’m asking for a favor: when I said my father was eccentric, I was not referring to his Sikh faith or the turban he wears on his head,” he wrote.
“I’m not asking you to spare his feelings (or mine) but instead to be cognizant and accepting of the millions of people that belong to the Sikh community.”On the show, things didn’t turn out well between Dean and his dad, who now goes by Paramroop Singh Khalsa.
I recently read an article entitled, “Losing the Turban: Indian Sikhs at odds on essentials” from CNN.
But when it comes to the major faiths other than Christianity, a new poll conducted for Maclean’s finds that many Canadians harbour deeply troubling biases. Although by now it might seem an ingrained national creed, fewer than one in three Canadians can find it in their hearts to view Islam or Sikhism in a favourable light. Canadians may embrace it in theory, but only a minority say they would find it acceptable if one of their kids came home engaged to a Muslim, Hindu or Sikh. There’s not enough to prevent media images of war and terrorism from convincing almost half of Canadians that mainstream Islam encourages violence.At the other end of the spectrum, Islam scored the lowest favourability rating, just 28 per cent.Sikhism didn’t fare much better at 30 per cent, and Hinduism was rated favourably by 41 per cent.Appearance rules on the books since 1984 had effectively banned service by Sikhs who follow those tenets and did not receive a waiver.The party, which made its Punjab assembly polls debut, came in second.