Study Looks Why Canadians Revert to Islam

SHAFAQNA - Amid increasing number of people who choose Islam, a new Canadian study has been trying to answer the question, why Canadians revert to Islam.

“Canada was a country that had not even one published journal article on converts between its borders. So, I thought, ‘Wow, what a great opportunity,'” Prof. Scott Flower of the University of Melbourne said in interview with CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning, CBC News reported on Saturday, July 25.

Looking into the reasons, Public Safety Canada is funding a project by an Australian academic to study why Canadians convert to Islam.

Being the first study of its kind in Canada, it follows the pattern of a number of other studies which receive money from Public Safety through its Kanishka Project, which funds research into terrorism and counterterrorism.

Prof. Flower plans to spend the next few months in Canada to interview reverts to Islam in order to find out the reason behind their decision.

Conducting his research, Flower does not know how the government will use his research.

“You’d have to be very ignorant to not sense the level of concern amongst the Muslim community in general, let alone the convert community. There’s been a number of recent legislative bills passed in this country — I won’t use the word oppressive — but I would say that it’s really made Muslims go to ground,” said Flower.

He added that this atmosphere is complicating his research.

“That’s really posing a challenge to recruiting participants to what is really a study that is not interested in security whatsoever,” he said.

The Kanishka Project was created in June of 2011 and came out of a recommendation in the Air India report. It is a five-year project worth $10 million.

Flower’s study received $169,240 from the Kanishka’s fifth round of grants. His report will be called, “Towards understanding the extremely rare: distinguishing ordinary processes of religious conversion from violent extremism.”

Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada’s 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country.

Pew Research Center concluded in its study, “Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population,” that Muslims make up around one fourth of the world’s population.

It found that Muslims make up 23 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people, the sweeping majority of them Sunnis.

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