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When legislation allowing multiculturalism was passed and made an official characteristic of Canada, it brought a lot of hope to immigrants who would now celebrate their native cultures and religions. At the same time, the same legislation would provide a smooth transition to immigrants so that they would be able to adopt the liberal views of Canada. Conflicts between Islam and Canadian multiculturalism are historic, and the passage of the legislation seemed to give both sides an opportunity to co-exist in a peaceful manner. The attacks on 9/11 brought the issue of multiculturalism in western countries to a high level; many citizens of the western world had thoughts that Islam is hell, which is bent to destroy the western states. This negated the gains made by multiculturalism and led a backlash against Islamic immigrants and Islam, as a whole.

This essay describes the challenges that Islam immigrants face in Canada, and their strive to be heard and respected as equal citizens in the Canadian society. There have been long and serious debates about this topic, and different groups of people have come up with divergent ideas. I side with multiculturalism and I think it is the way to go to for all nations, especially the western world. Although multiculturalism has its down side, one cannot pinpoint Islam only; there are other various multicultural people in the society. In addition, Islam as a religion does not advocate violence; however, the same way as other religions, such as Christianity, one cannot miss few negative elements in it.

Islam for a long time has been seen as a religion against western civilization, with all Islamic people seemingly involved in the plot to eliminate and destroy Western civilization. These kinds of ideas are not true, and for instance, a place like Quebec only 2% of the population are Muslims. This shows that the fear expressed by many people is baseless; the population of Muslims compared to the demographics is way below what can have an ability to eliminate Western civilization. Many people wonder if the multiculturalism will give minorities more power and deprive the original Canadians their rights. These citizens are now contemplating on how to co-exist in a society, where law protects these multiple cultures. Even as they do so, some questions tend to arise. One of the main questions that come to everybody’s mind is: “Are Muslims even allowed to live in countries that are not under Islamic rule?”

The answer to this question can be found in many Islamic sources, and there is no specific answer to such a question. Most of the answers come from different Islamic jurists that have the answer according to their take on individual and historical contexts. This question posed by many people tends to focus on the legality of communities of Muslims who live in areas where the Islamic law is not in place, or places where they are a minority. In the Journal of Religious Ethics, it says “perhaps one-third of the world's Muslims currently live in countries where Muslims are not the majority… Especially in Western Europe and the United States, these Muslims have become the subject of a growing discourse.” As the statement rightly says, most of the Muslims in the West are a minority, but the people there fear them, and there is a growing skepticism about them living in those areas. This type of discourse originated from the bombing of the World Trade Center, especially, after the indictment of a number of Muslims who were involved. In the journal, it says that a number of “scholars and policymakers alike have expressed concern about the potential for conflict focused in fast-growing communities of Muslims in the West. “ It continues to say, “The 1992 report published by the House Republican Research Committee's Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare expresses strong concern at the potential for terror activity on the part of Muslim immigrants.” This shows that the growing number of Muslims in westerns countries has been attributed to many violent events, and it is feared that if the number continues to raise it will become a problem

First of all, the obligations of Muslims residing in the non-Muslim territory, like Canada are not clearly defined in either the Qur’an or other Islamic books. Furthermore, in one of the verses in the Qur'an, it is not clear when a subject such as this is highlighted. The Qur’an does not clearly state whether the command to emigrate to the Prophet at Medina is down to the  considerations of personal security or communal harmony, or down to a judgment that people who practice Islam and live among non-Muslims will be going against the decrees of God. In addition, a number of Hadith reports provide a host of contradictory views that do not make the issue any easier. It is not clear whether Muslims living in non-Islamic states are going against their religion. If you use a hypothetical case such as a non-Muslim in a non-Islamic state converts to Islam, where does he or she go. Is this person committing a sin by not relocating to an Islamic state? Such questions do not have uniform answers, so the question about Muslims living in non-Islamic states should not arise, people should embrace the multiculturalism in their societies. We should live together as brothers and sisters, and fight together to fight the stereotypes that are associated with minority groups.

Another aspect that is discussed in the Taylor-Bouchard Report is the issue of secularism; we see this in the report that, during a public consultation, secularism was one of the things that was mentioned frequently. This was largely the Muslim community who were often cited as outsiders of the society by many Quebecers. As we see in the report, many proponents were saying, “Religion must remain in the private sphere.” This was attributed to the way the Islamic people dress, and the most affected are the women who wear religious signs. An independent education consultant Abdullah Omar in his paper stated that many Western societies have been grappling with Islamic symbols in the public space. He continued to say, “Recently as December 12, 2012 Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister announced that Muslim women who wear niqabs must remove the cover when they are becoming citizens.” Such public remarks by a government official do not help the fight for equity in Canada, the wearing of religious signs is in the Qur’an, and asking them to remove it is like asking them to go against their religion. Asking the government employees not to wear religious signs is implying that if they wear them they will not be able to perform, their duties well and professionally. A question quoted in the Taylor-Bouchard Report “Would they relinquish these qualities simply because they wear a religious sign? We do not think so.” By trying to prevent these people from practicing their religious beliefs, we are encroaching on their freedom of conscience and religion. This will also demoralize most of them who are busy trying to build the nation, and it will affect the public services’ task of creating an unbiased public service because a large number of Canadian populations will not be reflected. Such a proposal to ban certain religious signs will further contravene

Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which protects freedom of religion.

Freedom of religion and gender equality in Canada covers everybody, both the majority and the minority. However, most Canadians feel the urge of removing it from the Islamic community. In the report by Bernard and Taylor, many Quebecers are fearful that this freedom engraved in the constitution will be used wrongly; they felt this way because they do not trust the courts and feel that the courts would interpret the freedom of conscience poorly. Allowing minorities such as Muslims, to practice things that go against the majorities of the Canadians liberal democracy, Islam as a religion goes against many of the things that are considered not good by other religions. However, Islam does not embrace this form of conduct and behavior. In the Journal of Religious Ethics, it has a whole topic that answers questions about the obligations of Muslim minorities in countries such as Canada.  The journal provides answers that say whether they are a minority or a majority; all Muslims must practice according to the Qur’an. The journal continues to say, “Muslims are bound by Islamic law regardless of their place of residence.” According to one of the Muslim jurists, whatever is prohibited in an area that is controlled by Islamic law, is also prohibited in an area that does not have Islamic law in place. Now in Canada since the introduction of multiculturalism, subjective conception of religion is handled in a better way. Previously many courts required people who requested for accommodation of religious reasons to demonstrate the objectivity of what they believed and what they perceived. Now that approach has been discarded, and religious experts do not need to do all that, the courts view is crucial and all they need to do is to invoke the religious percept.

Another provision that had caused a lot of debate before the introduction of multiculturalism is the issue of setting up permanent prayer rooms for Muslims, so as to provide for their prayer sessions especially in the public establishments. This has allowed such prayer rooms to be allowed in schools, hospitals, penitentiaries, and airports. The same reasoning has led to people respecting the dietary prohibitions for minorities such as Muslims because they are not allowed to eat things like pork. This has gone a long way to ensure multiculturalism in Canada is embraced by both sides. Allowing students to wear Islamic headscarf, a kippah, or a turban in class has also helped a lot. The same is also true when the students want to wear a headscarf in sports competitions, and this has been encouraged, but in situations where it can compromise the individual’s safety, it is not accepted. All these provisions in the report go a long way in promoting integration of minorities and the majorities, especially, Muslims.

In conclusion, since the September 11 attacks, many individuals have created some reservations against the Muslim minority and in some cases even suspicion. Many Muslims are peaceful and only want to go on with their own business. In countries like Canada, the number of immigrants is increasing on a daily basis, and soon the number of Muslims will increase, and it must be said that they cannot abandon their religious beliefs just because they are not in an Islamic nation. Records have shown that the immigrant population in Canada is doing even better than the local people in terms of education and other areas. According to the 2006 census, 14.7% of Quebecers born in Canada have gone to the university while 27% of the immigrant population has studied in the university (Bouchard and Taylor). This shows that the immigrant community does not have sinister motives in their mind when they come to countries such as Canada. Many reasons force them to flee their country, and they should be accepted and given a chance to prove themselves like anybody else. We see, this is not happening because studies have shown that a large number of qualified immigrants have difficulty in finding jobs that are commensurate with the skills and experience needed. These discriminatory practices should be banned from the Canadian community so that the multicultural society that is emerging in Canada can co-exist peacefully. As the Bouchard and Taylor Report clearly say, it is a time for reconciliation.

Code: Sample20

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