A new survey suggests that 81 per cent of Canadians polled believe Islamophobia exists.

The Canadian Muslim Forum and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East polled over 1000 Canadians and found that 82 per cent of respondents think religious freedom is important, but only 68 per cent give importance to protecting Muslim rights to practice their religion.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Lloydminster Chapter says they are working to remove misconceptions about Islam. Imam Mansoor Azeem says that part of the issue is a lack of communication between Muslims and non-Muslims.

“There’s a distance that is coming between Muslims and the community. Some people think that Muslims don’t interact with the community, but I believe on the other hand we integrate at the same momentum as other people do.”

The data revealed that politics plays a role in shaping the idea of Muslims. For example, 60 per cent of people said that the government should play a role in combating Islamophobia.

In Lloydminster the Muslim community believes that the local government needs to show support for the programs they offer such as Ask Islam events. Azeem says that space is an issue and would be helpful in organizing community events.

“I think we are in great need of that help from the government so that people can come to the platform where they can have the answers from the source, the Muslims not the biased media at the same time.”

There are more than 250 people who regularly attend the mosque in Lloydminster.