What Canadians really think of Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Muslims: Maclean's exclusive

    A disturbing new poll shows the limit of our tolerance

    TORONTO, April 23 /CNW/ - Canadians like to think of their country as a
model of multi-ethnic and multicultural harmony - a mixed mosaic to which
other countries can aspire. But when it comes to the major faiths other than
Christianity, a new poll conducted for Maclean's finds many Canadians harbour
shocking biases.

    Almost Half Say Mainstream Islam Encourages Violence

    When asked if they thought "the mainstream beliefs" of the major
religions "encourage violence or are mostly peaceful," only 10 per cent said
they thought Christianity teaches violence. But fully 45 per cent said they
believe Islam does, and a sizable 26 per cent saw Sikhism as encouraging
    The poll, by Angus Reid Strategies for Maclean's, surveyed 1,002 randomly
selected Canadians on religion. As Maclean's Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes,
reports, the findings strongly suggest minority religions aren't getting a
fair shake. Sorting out complex issues - like the real meanings of Islamic
terms like "fatwa" and "sharia," or the factions in the Sikh community - can
undeniably be tricky. Still, when it comes to respecting the mainstream
beliefs of minority faiths, Canada is quite obviously still a much-flawed work
in progress.


    - 70% of Canadians hold a positive view of Christianity

    - 41% hold a positive view of Hinduism

    - 30% hold a positive view of Sikhism

    - 45% believe mainstream Islam encourages violence

    - 44% would not want their child to marry a person of Jewish faith. Even
      fewer would be comfortable with a Sikh or a Muslim.

    - Nationally, 62% think laws and norms should not be modified to
      accommodate minorities. In Quebec, that number rises to 74%.



    WestJet smells weakness in Air Canada and is embarking on an aggressive
customer service campaign to become the country's new dominant airline. Will
it be successful?

    About Maclean's:

    Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine.
Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.8 million readers with strong
investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the
fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business
and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Louise Leger, (416) 764-4125,

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