Black History Month: Black Muslims in Canada

Image by Djingareyber Mosque, Timbuktu by United Nations Photo .

Did you know that Black Muslims have a long and diverse history in Canada, dating back hundreds of years? As of 2011, approximately 9% of Canadian Muslims identified as Black. Many of these Black Canadian Muslims live in major cities such as Toronto, Edmonton, and in Ottawa where this community represents 27% of local Muslims. 

Although the top 50 nations with the largest Muslim populations today includes 16 sub-Saharan African countries, many Black Canadian Muslims are not recent immigrants.  Overall, 28% of Canadian Muslims report Canada as the country of their birth, making it the single largest source country.

The history of Black Muslims in Canada certainly goes back more than a few decades, and there were most likely Muslims among those captured in West Africa and enslaved, and brought here sometime between the arrival of European colonial powers and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1833. Black Muslims have long been a part of Canada's history, however, they have too often faced erasure and discrimination on the basis of both their faith and their race.

The Black Muslim Initiative is working to counteract this marginalization. This grassroots Canadian organisation is led by and for Black Muslims. It engages in community activism, advocacy, and social support, seeking to tackle both Islamophobia and anti-Black racism. Through its many educational programs and events, the Initiative strives to highlight the unique intersectional experiences of Black Muslims in Canada. The organisation is dedicated to furthering the Prophet’s (phub) mission by tackling social exclusion and promoting social justice.

For more info about the Initiative, check out their  website  and  Facebook page. And if you’re interested in learning more about Black Muslims in Canada, check out “Black Muslims in Canada,” a literature review compiled by Fatimah Jackson-Best and supported by the  Black Muslim Initiative and the Tessellate Institute.


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