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Muslims in Canada

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Category: Regional
Forum Name: Americas
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Printed Date: 21 June 2018 at 1:11pm
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Topic: Muslims in Canada
Posted By: nico
Subject: Muslims in Canada
Date Posted: 03 August 2005 at 2:04pm

Despite high levels of education, getting satisfying work is often difficult particularly for men. An analysis of the 2001 Census by the team shows that despite a high level of post-secondary education (almost double the national average), Muslims in Canada have a very high rate of unemployment (14.3%), almost twice as high as the national average (7.4%) and their median income is 37% below the national average.


many as half the males interviewed did not feel that their current job made good use of their education. Many also felt that the skill level of their Canadian job was lower than that of their work at home.


This last finding was particularly acute among Iranian males, where over 36% rated the skill level of their job as "lower" or "much lower" than their work at home. As well, 22% of Pakistani males reported that they did blue collar wage work in Canada, despite the fact that over half of them had completed a B.A. or higher degree at home. Among Afghan males, 12% in the sample are unemployed and another 32% are engaged in blue collar work.


"The difficulties encountered in the new country can drive migrant men to embrace a more conservative practice with respect to religion and a more vigorous attachment to the homeland in an attempt to recapture the dominance they enjoyed in their countries of origin


While males scoring "high" on this index of religious practice nearly always match women or are higher, the striking differences are between males from different groups. Over 76% of Afghan males and 80% of Pakistani males score "high" compared to only 9% of Iranian males. As well, 40% of Pakistani males say that their "religious beliefs, faith or religious identity" is "much stronger" now than at home, compared to less than 1% of Iranian males who report this view, and 15% who find their religious feeling to be "much weaker" now. The sharply different movement in religious attitudes and practice is particularly remarkable for Iranians and Pakistanis, since both arrived in Canada as well-educated groups.


I am not a Muslim, nor from the region so as an outsider I think I can add imputs that Muslims cannot see. Muslims are not nessecarily unique in Canada that their skills are underappreciated, many Hindu's, Sikh's, for instance are cabbies but I feel many of them as well have at least college education. For Muslims pacticularly Canada is a the best place to live in the world, unlike Europe or even the US which have strong, entrenched notions of their nationality, and purpose for instance to be French you must be French first and x second, in the US you define yourself as American and nothing else. Although Canadians would all like for everyone to be Canadian first they don't force it upon others and in Canada (as I can attest being an immigrant myself to the country) you can maintain your culture, and religion relatively freely with little to no opposition. But this isn't to say that isn't prejudice, I was arguing with a Zionist friend of mine (no I am not a Zionist myself) about Canada's healthcare system which I believe should be totally within the sphere of the public sector as it is too important to be left to the markets. He talked about the lack of doctors in Canada, I said basically that many taxi drivers and other service sector people have the education to be doctors but aren't be accepted because they don't meet Canadian standards of education, so I suggested that the gov't along with medical associations should provide loans or grant to these highly skilled immigrants to become doctors and force them to sign in return to work in Canadian hospitals for a certain period of time, as they would pay back their loan by working for the healthcare system. My friend said to me "what do you want a Paki doctor touching you?" I said "I don't see why a Paki doctor is worse then a Jewish one, if anything my cultural history tells me to avoid people Jews so really you complain about non-existent anti-semitism when you exert the same levels of prejudice against others?" Most Canadians do not think like my friend here, but there are within all cultures those that do that's a inescapable reality. Also like the article said Muslim is not a monolithic religion, culture is also a big factor in the way ppl behave and act, as shown Pakistani's in Canada are much more religious then Iranians. I suspect that there are many reasons for this, one being that most Iranians in Canada are probably refugee's from the Islamic revolution so already they didn't like the notion of super-Islamic practice, Iranians have also a indegenious and strong Persian culture which predates Arabic/Islamic culture and is highly developed culture at that much more then those in Arabia or the Sub-continent, I believe Persians are generally more liberal then their Islamic neighbours and because of Shi'a Islam are more wiling to adapt to their enviroment like Shi'a have had to accross the Islamic world to avoid conflict with Sunni's. Iranians are from what I have been able to tell are the most highly educated Muslims out there as the Iranian gov't since the revolution has made education a top priority and practical education like technical trades not like in Saudi Arabia where most of the college grads have useless Islamic majors (that's a major reason so many Arabs are unemployed within their own countries). Another article I read about Muslims in Canada in the magazine "the Walrus" with the articles title being Under The Sheltering Crescent Moon talks about divides within Muslim communities in Canada but a common thread of growing respect for not only Canada but liberalism. According to the magazine:

Many Muslims who come to Canada are fleeing poverty...especially those that have made common cause with religious extremists. They seek a rebirth of their faith in the liberal democracies of the West- 'a modern and moderate reformation' in the words of Mohamed Elmasry, head of the Canadian Islamic congress.

I believe that Muslims in general long for reforms in their religion for a more tolerant way of life for all members of the community, and more and more are turning to liberalism not Wahhabist puritanical dictates for that, and Canada is a major reason for that. Canada has shown the good side of liberalism, tolerance, acceptance, and mobility. What angers me as a liberal is when I hear Muslims denounce liberalism by the actions of the US as if the US is the only liberal state in the world, also Muslims forget that libearlism could not have happened without massive Islamic influences in European culture, so to hate libearlism is to hate large parts of Islamic tradition. I denounce American liberalism myself as a danger to liberalism in general, American liberalism is our equilivent to Wahhabi Islam, both are simplistic, dumbed down version of ideologies which in their actual form are quite different in practice. As a Mohamad Khatib in the article said:

'Osama has nostalgia for the past. He says the world is two camps: Islam and not Islam. Well, what can that mean for us in Canada? We don't want to fight. Canada hasn't oppressed us.'

To Osama, and Wahhabi-Qutbist followers of political Islam would find Canada not only a abhorrent place to live, but they should see it as a threat. I am not Muslim but I am aware of the ideological imperatives behind Wahhabi-Qutbist mistrust of Canadian society as Qutb points out:

Sometimes it appears in the form of a society in which God's existence is not denied, but His domain is restricted to the heavens and His rule on earth is suspended. Neither the Shari'ah nor the values prescribed by God and ordained by Him as eternal and invariable find any place in this scheme of life. In this society, people are permitted to go to mosques, churches and synagogues; yet it does not tolerate people's demanding that the Shari'ah of God be applied in their daily affairs. Thus, such a society denies or suspends God's sovereignty on earth

If you didn't notice he was talking about liberal societies like Canada, now as not being a Muslim if this is the way most modern Muslims think we have a problem (although I don't think most do). What I fear is that some Muslims (not all) want this Shari'a to be imposed in Canada and there is serious talk about allowing Shari'a into the family courts. Now I personally don't object per se as long as the two parties accept to be ruled under these laws. But to allow that to occur but there are fundamental problems with Shari'a and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

The problem is that Muslim family law treats women unequally, in some cases granting the father automatic cutody of children. This clearly violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Boyd dealt with this by asserting that the Charter will prevail where it conflicts with Muslim law...'we are talking about the use of Muslim priniciples...within the context of Ontario and Canadian law'.

What I found interesting about this case is that Muslims that were born in Canada seem to be much more idealistic about their faith then those who just immigrated from their home nations. As stated in the article:

Immigrant women, especially those who suffered daily humiliation under Islamic dictatorships in places like Iran, and Afghanistan are strongly opposed to Boyd's plan (Shariah family law)

Also more objections to Shari'a in Canada from Muslims themselves:

Ally says he is following a more open path for the sake of younger generations of Canadian Muslims whom he wants to see prosper in a multicultural society. This is why his congregation is opposed to the proposed implementation of shariah family law in Ontario. Mohamed Mirza...says shariah won't work here 'because the women won't accept it...his friend Zaheer Majeed agrees. 'the women say, ' why must I be treated differently from Canadian women'?

Thus two things I see, Islamic fundamentalist ideology is primarily a male movement within the community (not exclusively of course) as Islam although at the time of its conception was very liberal towards women by today's standards is not. Now according to Qutb, the reaction of those Muslims who say that they do not want Shari'a imposed on them are infected with Jahili, which means that one accepts the soverignty of man instead of the soverignty of God, and to live in a state of ignorance generally associated with societies before they accept Islam and Shari'a. But as immigrant Muslim women have shown they lived in states which Shari'a was practiced and reject it as they fled those countries for that same reason. I feel (you may feel free to correct me if you wish) that Muslims who have lived in Canada, and have not experienced the life in their homelands where Shari'a is practiced have a much more idealistic way of looking at Islam, instead of a practical reality, same with communists who lived in the West (Eurocommunists). Everything in theory sounds goods, in practice is another story.

My most critical position is that Islam is declining, what some would suggest is its strengths I suggest are its weaknesses. What does Canada have to with it, well it has to a lot with it. Islam is going down the path of Christanity, and Judaism becoming a much more personal then communal expression of faith. Islam has always defined itself as a community (ummah) based idea, as Qutb has suggested:

During the progress of this movement, a struggle would already have started within the jahili society. On the one side is this new born society, which in its belief and concepts, values and standards, existence and organization has separated itself from the jahili society, from which the Islamic society absorbs individuals. This movement, from the moment of its inception until the growth and permanent existence of its society comes about, tests every individual and assigns him a position of responsibility according to his capacity, as measured by the Islamic balance and standards. The society automatically recognizes his capabilities, and he does not need to come forward and announce his candidacy; in fact, his belief and the values to which he and his society subscribe compel him to keep himself concealed from the eyes of those who want to give him a responsible position.

Very idealistic I agree, but not practical in today's modern world as Muslims themselves are showing. As shown in the article the opposite of what Qutb is suggesting is happening:

In fact, rather than waiting for the scholars to endorse more liberal Islam, some Muslims are beginning to invent personal versions of the faith. Kecia Ali, and American Muslim writer, has taken note of US Muslims who try to 'keep the spirit' of the Koran, but who quietly ignore shariah rules, much as some devout Catholics quietly ignore the church's ban on birth control

In fact there is rebellion throughout the Islamic world against the "traditional" or Taqleed(I put them in quotations because I am talking much more about the Wahhabi version of Islam then real Islam) Islamic ways and a greater emphasis on Ijtihad. I believe that Political Islam like Soviet Communism have failed to bring the "moral" results needed to legitmize its rule as people are naturally Jahili. Modern Liberal societies whether one likes it or not have taken the worst aspects of human character like greed, and jealousy and co-opted them for good, to ignore or to suppress these natural human emotions like religions generally do leads to sick societies eventually. I haven't seen a society more sick then Saudi Arabian society, or North Korean society both of which have failed because theory is not reality. As it says in the article:

arranged marriages, Elders are quick to assert that forcing Muslim girls to marry Muslim boys is the only way to save the community in countries like Canada...Such a group right, says Ascherson, may well save the community in the short term. But as time goes by, nothing can prevent immigratn groups from melting together into a new hybrid culture. In the end, he says 'the elders...cannot win'.

I do not believe that they can either, the reality is that liberal capitalistic ways of living are the most attractive, and facilitating out there. I think what libearlism does is it lets people see what usually happened behind closed doors, the reality is that the world is not today more "evil" then it was during the time of Muhammed, or Jesus, or Moses just that we see more of it not that there is actually more of it happening. The reason why it seems the world is denegrading is because of the way that we are all now so interconnected, so aware, so open to reality and not that fantasy land we called those "golden days" which never existed we think we are worse then our parents, or grandparents. Let me reassure you that we are not, just we admit what they used to keep quiet.

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