The Fereldans, as a people, tend to be highly superstitious and extremely distrustful of magic. It is no accident that the Circle Tower of Ferelden is situated on a remote island far from the more populous cities. Long ago it was in Denerim, but an angry mob burned it down. Magic use outside of a restrictive set of rules is forbidden.
Mages are required to join the Circle of Magi. Those who do not are called apostates and hunted down by Chantry templars. Apostates who practice forbidden blood magic are known as maleficar and they are feared above all. To guard against the use of proscribed magic and demonic possession, templars are stationed in every Circle tower. The Chantry admits that mages can be useful against foes like darkspawn, but their trust of mages only goes so far.