Islam now is the second largest religion in Canada with a total Muslim population of around 1.5 million. The number is increasing geometrically and according to statistics, the size of Muslim population in Canada may cross 15 percent of the total population by 2030. The most Muslim populated areas in Canada are Greater Toronto and Greater Montreal. Just remember, in 1991, the Muslim population in Canada was 0.9 percent of the total population. Almost every Muslim country in the world has sent immigrants to Canada – from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Albania, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Oman, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, Bangladesh, Maldives and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The fertility rate for Muslims in Canada is higher than the rate for other Canadians (an average of 2.4 children per woman for Muslims, compared with 1.6 children per woman for other populations in Canada). Due to rise in the Muslim population, number of mosques and madnassa (Islamic seminary) are increasing with mostly funding from the Arab nations. According to strategists, rise of Islam already is posing potential threat to non-Muslim Canadians, especially Jews and Christians. Muslim dominance has also been increasing significantly in the country.
In my opinion, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of religious expression is working as a shield to Muslims in growing the size of the Muslim population at the same time getting involved in radical Islamic activities, conversion of non-Muslims into Islam and even taking part into radical Islamic terrorism.
Hijab and burqa culture:
Under Section 2(a) of the Charter, the wearing of Islamic attires such as hijab is permitted in schools and places of work, although Quebec has ruled that medical faculties are not required to accommodate Muslim women who wish to be served by female employees. In 2011, the Harper government attempted to ban the niqab during citizenship ceremonies. In 2015, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled against the ban, and the Supreme Court turned down the government’s appeal.
Rise of Islam in Canada:
Let us not forget, four years after Canada’s founding in 1867, the 1871 Canadian Census found just 13 European Muslims among the population. A great number of Bosniaks (from Bosnia) went to Ameican soil; some came before the First World War. The first Muslim organization in Canada was registered in 1934 in Regina, Saskatchewan, consisting of immigrants from Lebanon. The first Canadian mosque was constructed in Edmonton in 1938, when there were approximately 700 European Muslims in the country. This building now is a part of the museum at Fort Edmonton Park. The years after the Second World War, Canada saw an increase in the Muslim population. However, Muslim still was a distinct religious minority. It was only after the removal of European immigration preferences in the late 1960s and early 1970s that Muslims began to arrive like tidal waves in a significant numbers.