Session: A14(a) - Religion and Politics in Canada - New Trends
Chair/Président: André Blais (Université de Montréal)
Discussant/Commentateur: Jim Farney (University of Regina)
Participants & Authors/Auteurs: (Click titles for Abstract and Paper.)
Dietlind Stolle (McGill University), Allison Harell (Université du Québec à Montréal), Valerie-Anne Mahéo (McGill University/Université de Montréal), Christopher Liu (University of Pennsylvania) : Acceptance of the Muslim Veil among Canadian Youth
Abstract: How and under what conditions do young Canadians accept the Muslim veil? This question speaks to important political arguments of our time and particularly the recent election campaign. In this paper we utilize a two wave panel survey with young Canadians to answer this question. In particular, we like to understand how youth’s experiences with ethnic and religious diversity in their school and childhood environments as well as their interethnic strong and weak ties shapes their attitudes on religious acceptance and tolerance later on. We use the Canadian Youth Study, a unique two-panel survey of Canadian young people collected in 2005-2006 and 2013-14, including approximately 1,000 respondents surveyed at the ages of at 16 and 24. Inter-group contact was measured with strong and weak ties, and include close friendships, relations at schools, work and in the neighborhood. In order to understand the role of inter-group contact and contextual diversity for tolerance and religious acceptance, we measure both traditional outgroup attitudes used in social psychology as well as more subtle measures of prejudice such as reactions to vignettes, which include manipulations with the hijab and niqab.
John McCoy (University of Alberta), Anna Kirova (University of Alberta), W. Andy Knight (Institute of International Relations) : Gauging Social Integration among Canadian Muslims: A Sense of Belonging in an Age of Anxiety
Abstract: While the subject of “Muslim integration” represents one of the most common areas of scholarly study in the sub-field of migration studies since the 11th of September 2001, especially in the Western European context, there has been little specific study of the subject in Canada. Muslim populations in Western states have been subject to considerable scrutiny, specifically from political elites and civil society groups who charge that Muslims have failed to integrate into “host societies” in a number of ways. (see Caldwell 2009; Joppke 2009 and 2014; and Bawer 2010). Canada is viewed as generally successful in integrating newcomers (see Anderson & Black 2008; Biles and Frideres 2008; Jedwab 2008; Banting 2012; Banting and Soroka 2012; Wong and Tézli 2013; Wilkinson 2013; and Biles 2014), yet has not fully escaped the public anxieties related to Muslim immigrants and the integration of those populations into the host culture (see Reitz 2009). Employing semi-structured interviews (n20) with elite, civil society representatives of the Canadian Muslim community, together with the Ethnic Diversity Study (EDS), the article critically engages with the idea of “failed integration” among Canadian Muslims, specifically through gauging the social integration of Canadian Muslims in Canadian society and using the barometer for successful integration established by Canadian policy makers and academics, namely a “sense of belonging” to the state (see Banting et al. 2007; Banting & Soroka 2012 and Wong and Tézli 2013).
Luc Turgeon (Université d'Ottawa), Antoine Bilodeau (Concordia University), Stephen White (Carleton University), Ailsa Henderson (University of Edinburgh) : Attitudes toward Minority Religious Symbols in Canada: Exploring the Impact of Prejudice and Principles
Abstract: Over the last decade, debates have multiplied in Canada over the presence of minority religious symbols in the public sphere and in public institutions. Those debates have been especially acute in Quebec, as shown by the crisis of reasonable accommodation and the 2013 proposal of the then Parti Québécois government to ban the wearing of religious symbols for public employees. However, as demonstrated by the recent debate on the Conservative government's decision to forbid the wearing of the Niqab at citizenship ceremonies, such debate has not been limited to Quebec. While a growing body of literature in Europe has explored the sources of support for proposals to ban religious symbols in public institutions, especially the headscarf (Helbling, 2014; van der Noll, 2010), we know very little about Canadian's attitudes toward minority religious symbols and the sources of support or opposition to proposals to ban the wearing of such symbols in public institutions or by public employees. In our paper, drawing on a survey of over 6,000 Canadians we designed and conducted in 2014, we explore whether Canadians' attitudes toward the presence of religious symbols in public institutions are driven, to use Sniderman and Hagendoorn’s (2007: 32) dichotomy, by prejudices or principles. Among such principles, we explore the impact of secular and feminist values. With regard to prejudices, we explore whether attitudes toward religious symbols are rooted in generalized prejudice or prejudice toward specific groups.