Jariullah Qudrat, Canada
The religious landscape in Canada is constantly shifting. As the country becomes more and more globally interconnected, individuals are losing connection with their souls. As we witness the rampant growth of technological advancement, social media, and society at large, there seems to be a dichotomy with religious growth and spiritual development.
A recent survey, ‘The Canadian census: A rich portrait of the country’s religious and ethnocultural diversity‘, which is conducted every 10 years, has provided some intriguing insight into religion in Canada.
While small, the proportion of Canada’s population who reported being Muslim, Hindu or Sikh has more than doubled in 20 years. From 2001 to 2021, these shares rose from 2.0% to 4.9% for Muslims, making it one of the most rapidly growing faiths in Canada based on percentage. In 2021, over 19.3 million people reported a Christian religion, representing just over half of the Canadian population (53.3%).
However, this proportion is down from 67.3% in 2011 and 77.1% in 2001. Approximately 12.6 million people, or more than one-third of Canada’s population, reported having no religious affiliation. The proportion of this population has more than doubled in 20 years, going from 16.5% in 2001 to 34.6% in 2021.
Given this staggering increase in Canadians having no religious affiliation, Muslim Youth across Canada have launched an ambitious campaign called Explore Islam, to highlight the teachings of Islam as the fastest-growing faith in the world.
The Explore Islam nationwide campaign aims to present the religion of Islam to the Canadian public by visiting over 1,000 cities, towns and villages through a robust national plan.
As Muslim youth are going into remote towns, these statistics have proven to be aligned with some of the conversations happening in different towns. Many Canadians have visited different open houses and events in which a growing number of Canadians have shown interest in Islam and understanding the faith practiced by Muslims around the world.
Coast to coast, the Explore Islam campaign is setting the stage to educate, and raise awareness about the true teachings of Islam, and how it leads to a life of peace, serenity, and fulfilment.
One unique aspect of this campaign is that Canadians will have the opportunity to meet and interact with Muslims in remote areas. Canadians will also have the opportunity to ask questions about Islam directly from Muslims.
Through this interactive tour, Muslim youth will participate in two-way dialogue with local residents to experience the cultures and perspectives of Canadians from all walks of life. Thus far, Muslim youth have visited over 60 cities and towns over the past few weeks. The response from Canadians has been welcoming and has led to intriguing conversations.
The Explore Islam campaign is presenting the teachings of Islam in a way where those that are not familiar with the Islamic teachings are easily able to understand. Content, events, articles, FAQ, and so much more are being added to exploreislam.ca on a daily basis.
‘As Canada’s largest Muslim youth group, we aim to showcase the true and peaceful teachings of Islam,’ said Mr. Tahir Ahmed, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. ‘Through this national campaign, we want to provide Canadians an opportunity to meet with Muslims and explore the religion of Islam.’
About the Author: Jariullah Qudrat is the Director of Outreach for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association Canada