Only Canadian: The Experience of Hate Moderated Differential Citizenship for Muslims provides an assessment and analysis of the hatred and hostility towards Canadian Muslims. Canada’s ingrained prejudices appear to be foundational as evidenced most blatantly by the mistreatment of the First Nations. With this modus operandi of sorts, Canada is stuck in a repetitive cycle that is destined to continue without significant change.
The study pulls back and examines the history of Canada - a nation that perceives itself as a multicultural state – and makes explicit its treatment of First Nations. Even today Aboriginal people continue to be among the most disadvantaged in Canadian society. Tracing the Muslim presence in Canada back to 1871, the study also provides reasons for the recent immigration of Muslims to Canada and examination is made of Muslim identity today ranging from looking at employment to education.
Using case studies, the authors deconstruct the Islamophobia and discursive racism present in Canada. Significant figures in the media are profiled and important laws are scrutinised till the bones of injustice are laid bare for the reader to see. Television, film and press have acted as highly effective vehicles for anti-Islam rhetoric and Muslims have been dehumanised to such an extent that they exist outside of the space where rights are guaranteed to them.
The study’s survey takes into consideration age, religiosity and visible Muslimness as well as income and work status. 10.9% of respondents stated they had experienced physical assault of some sort as a result of religious hatred. While this may be less than other countries surveyed for the project so far, the fact remains that the rate of 1 in every 10 Muslims is still worryingly high. Measuring the levels of intensity of different experiences of hostility, it was found that being stared at by strangers (57.7%) was the most intense. It was followed by hearing or being told an offensive joke or comment concerning Muslim people or about Islam (48.3%). Shockingly the percentage of respondents across the survey who stated they had never had a hate experience was only 2%. Beyond the practice of hate is hate ideology (the study states that the latter leads to the former) and 93.2% of respondents claimed to see ‘negative or insulting stereotypes of Muslims in the media.’
"Saied Reza Ameli and Arzu Merali offer a timely and critical assessment of the Muslim experience in Canada. Drawing upon a national survey of over 400 Muslims, the report highlights that all is not well in the “peaceable kingdom.” In fact, Ameli and Merali document the glaring contrasts between the Canadian rhetoric of multiculturalism and inclusion with the reality of exclusionary practices associated with Islamophobia. Importantly, they contextualize widespread discrimination in the workplace, on the street, in government policy, the media and education within a “hate environment.” They lay bare the enabling elements in Canada – the Charter of Values, and securitization, for example – that perpetuate the vilification of Muslims. So, too, do they remind us of the harmful effects of these processes, including behavioural change, fear, silencing and marginalization. This ground-breaking Canadian study also provides a framework for change through a series of sweeping recommendations for popular and political action both from within and beyond the Muslim community."
- Barbara Perry, Professor, Associate Dean
Faculty of Social Science and Humanities
University of Ontario Institute of Technology