U of T is located on three campuses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), one of the most inclusive and diverse urban regions in the world, which is why the majority of newcomers to Canada choose to make it home. With 44 per cent of the GTA’s population born abroad, issues around indigeneity, language politics, multiculturalism, citizenship and migration, and religion in the public sphere are part of the lived experience of Torontonians.
Toronto is also the preferred destination for Muslim immigration, with a strong community representing South Asians, Arabs, West Indians, Chinese and Africans, as well as Muslims of different religious sects. Islamic diversity is reflected in the plurality of Toronto’s religious institutions and organizations. Mosques, imambaras, khanqas, jamatkhanas and other places of Muslim worship now figure prominently alongside churches, temples and synagogues.
The GTA has more than 60 mosques in which imams deliver Friday sermons and which provide educational and social services to members. Toronto is also home to major art institutions that have significant collections from various periods of the Islamic civilization: the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has a department focused on Islamic art that reflects the various regions of the Muslim world, and the new Aga Khan Museum is dedicated to the preservation of Muslim arts and culture.
This diversity in the city and the culture of inclusivity are reflected in U of T’s student body, which hails from 111 countries and represents various faiths. More than 4,000 undergraduate students identify themselves as Muslim, and an array of student groups across our three campuses reflects the diversity of Muslim communities.
The Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study & Practice, which accommodates a variety of spiritual and faith-based practices, and encourages interfaith dialogue and spiritual development as part of the learning experience for all students, exemplifies our commitment to providing a welcoming environment for all, where issues are considered and debated in the spirit of academic freedom and mutual respect.