Faith is essential to many people's daily lives. It forms part of their identity, who they are at their core. Islam is the second-largest faith in Canada today, and the Muslim community in Canada continues to grow every day.
This land of maple leaves is known to be one of the most welcoming, diverse, and tolerant nations in the world, but what is it like for Muslim ex-pats living and working here?
In this blog, we take a look at what it’s like to be a Muslim in Canada, touching on places of worship for followers of Islam in Canada, access to halal food, and Islamic education options, amongst other things.
Muslims in Canada: The Facts
Reports show that the first known Muslim in Canada arrived in 1851. A couple, James and Agnes Love, are said to have converted to the religion in Scotland before emigrating. The couple had a son three years after their arrival, who became the first known Canadian-born Muslim. According to Statistics Canada, Islam was listed as Canada's second most commonly reported religion in the 2021 Census. Here are the facts:
- There are close to 1.8 million Muslims in Canada
- This means that 1 in 20 in the Great White North follow Islam
- The number of Muslims in Canada has doubled in the space of 20 years
- There are different sects within Islam, Sunni, Shia, and Ahmadiyya Islam.
Life in Canada for Muslims
Muslims in Canada can practice their religion freely. In 1971, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau announced an official multiculturalism government policy to acknowledge the contributions of the many different cultures woven into Canadian society. The country takes diversity and multiculturalism so seriously that as recently as January 2023, current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed its first special representative, Amira Elghawaby, to combat Islamophobia and address any racism, discrimination, and religious intolerance Muslims in the country may face.
Places of Worship for Followers of Islam in Canada
Canada has over 90 mosques and Islamic centers. Here are just some of the places of worship for Muslims in Canada. The biggest mosque, Baitu Nur, is an Ahmadiyya mosque located in Calgary, Alberta.
|Place of Worship for Muslims in Canada|
|Newfoundland & Labrador|
Online Muslim Communities in Canada
Canada has various online Islamic communities to help provide support and a sense of togetherness. These online communities often arrange various community get-togethers and fundraisers and offer useful resources for Muslim newcomers in Canada.
Below are a few associations you can join when moving to Canada.
- Muslim Association of Canada
- Canadian Council of Muslim Women
- Muslim Community Services
Islamic Schools in Canada
Canada has various private Islamic schools to enroll your children in. These schools provide a strong Islamic education and instill traditional Islamic beliefs. These schools focus on secular academics and religious studies. This gives students a solid foundation in the Muslim religion while engagingly teaching subjects such as Math, Science, and English. Certain schools will focus predominantly on teaching Arabic and Persian. In most Islamic schools, children are called to prayer five times a day, either at a mosque on school grounds or in school.
Below is a list of some of the private Islamic schools in Canada:
- Calgary Islamic School, Calgary, Alberta
- Maple Root Academy, Mississauga, Ontario
- Al Haadi School, Thornhill, Ontario (Shia)
- Al Huda Elementary School, Mississauga, Ontario
- Al-Ameen Elementary School, Brampton, Ontario (Sunni)
- GTA Academy (Sunni), Mississauga, Ontario
Finding Halal Food in Canada
Once you settle abroad, one of the biggest stresses is whether or not you'll be able to find items on your shopping list to meet your specific dietary, cultural, and religious requirements. When it comes to food in Canada, you’ll find a wide variety of grocery stores and restaurants to buy and try authentic spices, ingredients, and an array of halal dishes. Even big chain stores such as Walmart, No Frills, and Loblaws stock halal items on their shelves.
Below is a list of supermarkets and online stores that will cater to your every need to cook up delectable meals that taste like home.
Halal Grocery Stores and Supermarkets
- Halal Commerce (Online Only)
- Al Aqsa Grocery & Meat, Toronto
- Aftab Supermarket, Toronto
- Al-Falah Grocery and Halal Meat,
- Epicerie Indian Deshi Bazar, Quebec
- Marche Al Mizan, Montreal
- Iqbal Halal Foods, Toronto
- Jasmine Halal Meats & Mediterranean Produce, Vancouver
- Nandos (20 outlets)
- Basha (20 outlets)
- Osmow’s (11 Outlets)
- Lazeez Shawarma (11 Outlets)
- Babaz (7 outlets)
- Ali Babas (6 Outlets)
Prominent Canadian Muslims
Muslims have integrated well into Canadian society and have, over the years, reached great heights across the Canadian landscape. Here are just some of the most prominent Canadian Muslims:
- The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
- The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport
- Amira Elghawaby, former journalist, a founding member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network
- Ginella Massa, Afro-Latina Muslim, and works as a reporter for CityNews, a local news channel in Toronto
- Nazem Kadri, Canadian professional ice hockey player for the Calgary Flames
- Keinan Abdi Warsame, aka K'naan - A Somali-Canadian musician who had great success with his single "Wavin' Flag," Coca-Cola's anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
- Samra Habib is a Pakistani Canadian photographer, writer, and activist
- Zarqa Nawaz, British born, Canadian creator and producer for film and television, published author, public speaker, journalist, and former broadcaster
Making the Move to Canada
Moving to a new country is a challenging feat. So adjusting to a new way of life while wondering whether or not you will be accepted based on your faith or belief shouldn't have to be an added stress. However, you won't have to worry about that when you move to Canada. As one of the world's most multicultural and welcoming countries, you and your loved ones won't have to abandon your Islamic identity to live here.
So if you're ready to join the over million Muslims in Canada, we're standing by to help you join them. By using our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC), you'll give yourself and your loved ones the best chance of Canadian immigration success.
If you go the Express Entry route, you can check your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score using our CRS Calculator.
How Will my Religious Freedom be Protected in Canada?
To ensure that no one is deprived of Religious Freedom, the Canadian Government formed religious rights and freedom as part of the Fundamental Freedoms, which falls under the section of the "Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms in Canada. Everyone in the country has:
- Freedom of conscience and religion;
- Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other Media of communication;
- Freedom of peaceful assembly; and
- Freedom of association.
Does Canada Take Human Rights Seriously?
Yes. Canada prides itself in protecting and preserving religious freedom in the country. This is held in place with the Canadian Human Rights Act.