Fear-mongers keen on stirring up angst about the increasingly diverse nature of Canadian society have had a bad month of it, on the whole. That’s because three recent sets of evidence suggest that really there’s not that much to worry about in face of a blossoming patchwork of religious headgear being worn, languages being spoken and national soccer teams being cheered for across the land…
First and most newsworthy on the roster is the failure of the Parti Quebecois to win popular endorsement for the not-late-lamented Charter of Values… This means that acceptance of the diversity status quo has won out. We won’t any time soon be seeing a Canadian political party that thinks it a good electoral strategy to whip up fear in this way.
A second piece of non-alarming news about diversity on a national level came with the Mosaic Institute’s newly released report on the perception and reality of “imported conflict” in Canada. Some people have worried that as our population grows in its diversity of global origins, fighting abroad will be transplanted onto Canadian soil.
A third reason not to worry about the impacts of Canadian diversity comes from a study on global religious diversity released last week by the Pew Foundation. As Emma Green, a sharp-eyed editor at The Atlantic, has observed, the patterns shown in that study produce some striking results when mapped onto an another recent Pew study about global religious violence.
It turns out that some of the world’s least religiously diverse countries are home to the highest levels of violence: witness Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Somalia and Israel. So it seems that societies exceptionally heterogeneous in terms of faith are not the ones most likely to make faith a point of conflict…
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I am not reassured. Voting against the PQ could have been voting against separatism. Second, I never worried about “imported conflict” before. Never even thought of it.
Third, India and Israel are quite diverse in religion. The writer does not know what she is talking about. Furthermore, all named countries have sizeable Muslim fractions, or are nearly 100% Muslim. So, it seems having a sizeable Muslim fraction is a good guide to trouble. That confirms my reading of the news, and history too.