The Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada


This volume examines, from diverse perspectives, what it means to be a Muslim in Canada. Is it a public or a private identity, and as an identity is it compatible with a secular democracy such as Canada? What relation does it bear to historical, cultural, and ethnic identities? Is a total agnostic or an atheist a Muslim? Is a person who disavows being a Muslim still a Muslim? How do Muslims cope with anti-Muslim bigotry, especially when it goes “official”? What alterations in social and religious practice and what re-thinking of interpretation can one expect in its evolution?

These vital questions of faith, culture, and identity are addressed by prominent members of the Canadian cultural and intellectual community.

Mohamed Alibhai (Vancouver; scholar, former editor Islam in America) | Mayank Bhatt (journalist and author, Toronto) | Amira Elghawaby (Communications Director, National Council of Canadian Muslims, Ottawa) | Safia Fazlul (novelist, The Harem, Toronto) | Ihsaan Gardee (Executive Director, National Council of Canadian Muslims, Ottawa) | Karim H Karim (Carleton University, Ottawa) | Monia Mazigh (author, Mirrors and Mirages,Ottawa) | Ameen Merchant (novelist, The Silent Raga, Vancouver) | Narendra Pachkhede (cultural commentator, Toronto) | Asma Sayed (MacEwan University, Edmonton) | Haroon Siddiqui (emeritus editor,The Toronto Star) | Zainub Verjee (visual artist, Toronto).
“[F]or the sake of future generations, that close encounter with hate deserves careful analysis through the essays contained in this volume which was conceived and compiled during a critical time for Muslims in Canada.”
–Saima S Hussain, Dawn

“These pieces are representative of a refreshing collection that does not present a singular, uniform Islamic identity. Rather, The Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada sincerely vocalizes the tensions and challenges faced on a daily basis by Muslims living in Canada . . . What it reveals is that Islamic identity is a journey, one that every Muslim navigates by themself.”

“[A]n enlightening, unsettling, open-ended book, a testament to the resilience and candour of Canadian Muslims.”
–Carol Goar, The Toronto Star


Publication Date: November 2015

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-927494-65-3
Page size: 5.75″ x 8.75″
232 pages

eBook ISBN: 978-1-927494-76-9

Nurjehan Aziz is the editor of Her Mother’s Ashes: Stories by South Asian Women in Canada and the United StatesThe Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada, and more recently Confluences 1 and Confluences 2. She is the publisher at Mawenzi House. In 2024, she was appointed to the Order of Canada.

Also by this author