‘Religious diversity is not a weakness, it is a strength’- the most beautiful Canadian value I have observed being an international student.
Happy Diwali to all the Hindu community living in Pakistan! Here is a snap from official Facebook account of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in which he is seen celebrating Diwali with a bunch of Hindus in a local gathering. No any of Christian cleric demanded Justin to refresh his faith, getting baptized in a church, and God forbid reminded him to renew his religious Christian belief. This is the beauty of pluralism and multiculturalism that it hugs people of all faiths and religious divide and takes them on board to produce a health society in a strengthened democratic system.
I have been a part of Canadian society for the last two years as an international student, and the most fascinating virtue of Canadians I have observed - is the respect of diversity and freedom regardless of what belief you tend to follow. Canada is one of the most peaceful countries with minimum racial and religious indifference ratio in the world and guess what, that too carrying immigrants with 49 percentage of total population in its lap. Just imagine, almost half of the country is filled with immigrants and refugees, coming from different parts of the world with various identities and different religious backgrounds, yet the ratio of racial and religious discrimination is touching almost to its minimal level, way less than most of the countries where majority following single faith, Pakistan and Philippines are decent examples. Fascinating and impressive…isn’t it?
A literature review of Public Opinion Research on Canadian attitudes towards multiculturalism and immigration, 2010-2015.
In this ever-diversifying world, why it is extremely imperative for any country to embrace diversity of religious divide and why Canada is best ever example to look up to?
Coming is the former question, religion is what most people look up to as something very dear to maintain discipline and organization in their life. Religion is belief and belief is all about personal emotions which develop through various practices of deeply embedded values and traditions since ages which makes it worthy of due appreciation and recognition. There are literally thousands of religions in the world and there are further various schools of thoughts and sub-sects coming out of these religions. There is a decent probability that you might come across seeing church, mosque and temple in the same town or even in the same street of same city. Instead of hurting people hard-earned values and emotions, and marginalizing particular minority factions in the wake of their belief and ideology, how beautiful and soothing it would be to see an imam of a mosque, father of the church and Pundit of the temple coming out of their places of worship to hug each other to promote rhetoric of harmony, peace and togetherness which is probably the most required virtue in this era of globally religious turmoil. Mutual respect of each other’s religious diversity and freedom is imperative because it brings stability, reconciliation and cohesion in a society while hateful rhetoric stretches the fabric of prejudice, fear, restlessness and religious discrimination which becomes problematic for both state and its institutions to function seamlessly.
Coming to the latter part of my question, Canada is probably the most diverse and pluralistic society and the reason is transparent - it has people from all over the regions and countries. It should be of no surprise for you as a visitor to see mini Poland, mini India, mini Italia and almost ninety more small communities staying in the residence of greater Toronto area which makes Toronto even more attractive and livable. Regardless of where did you come from as an immigrant or refugee, you are free to abide by your beliefs and cultural rituals, and what makes it more affordable for everyone- is the participation and recognition from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself as you would have seen his pictures and videos circulating on the social media where he would be seen celebrating rituals of different visible minorities mainly Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews. What I have observed as an international student over the period of last two years, it were the people sitting on the seats of government and opposition who had set precedents for their fellow countrymen for respecting minorities values and personal space instead of socially excommunicating them, and Canadian politician particularly the current Liberals are arguably the best at this job. Canadians value peace and equality, peace pumps liberty and liberty provides everyone to grow potentially with equal opportunity. I see Canada emerging as a strong role model for other countries especially for nation like my own ‘Pakistan’- where recently a government official called for a complete ban on Ahmadis to apply for any official post in Pakistan- to look up to for embracing and accepting religious diversity and multiculturalism.