Announcing the Muslims in Canada Data Initiative (MiCDI)

February 15, 2021

The Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) is excited to introduce you to a new and exciting venture: the Muslims in Canada Data Initiative (MiCDI).

MiCDI examines and and develops large-scale data sets, that improve the visibility of Muslims across Canada. With a higher resolution understanding of Canada’s Muslims communities, MiCDI can enable more effective discussions about the policies and decisions that affect Muslims.

Led by University of Calgary’s Dr. Abdie Kazemipur, MiCDI is made up of a team of experienced data scholars and representatives from Canada’s major data institutions (such as StatCan; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; and others). MiCDI’s team of researchers are committed to creating a powerful impact in the lives Muslims and other minorities and racialized communities in Canada.

Launch Webinar – Two-Part Series

The IIS will be hosting two webinars in March to introduce audiences to the project and get a deeper understanding of what MiCDI offers.

A team of experts and researchers will share key insights into the state and quality of data on Muslims, and the opportunities available to improve our data on Canadian Muslims, including plans for a robust survey led by Environics Institute.

The webinars will feature a core team of experts and researchers with a proven commitment and experience in improving our understanding of Muslims in Canada through data:

  • Dr. Abdie Kazemipur – Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, and Chair of Ethnic Studies, University of Calgary 
  • Dr. Sarah Shah – Research Fellow, Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto 
  • Dr. Keith Neuman – Ph.D, Senior Associate, Environics Institute

Webinar #1: The State of Data on Muslims in Canada 
Date: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 
Time: 12:30PM to 2:00PM EST

Webinar #2: Improving our Data and Understanding of Muslims in Canada 
Date: Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 
Time: 12:30PM to 2:00PM EST  

Re-presenting Muslims in data 

Despite the growing population of Muslims in Canada – now passed the one million mark – and their long history in Canada, Muslims continue to be one of the most misunderstood faith communities in the country. For several years, key individuals including the likes of the late Daood Hamdani, and institutions like the Environics Institute have been at the forefront of analyzing datasets of Muslims in Canada. There is an increasing need to provide factual information about this growing community in order to correct stereotypes around Muslims and remove barriers, among other reasons. 

Supporting Muslim communities through better data 

Policy makers at all levels of government—municipal, provincial, and federal—are keenly interested in Muslim communities, especially in this time of rising White extremism and its potentially violent effect on Muslims and their institutions. Policy makers rely on numbers and robust datasets to ensure their decisions are representative of their constituencies. Without a concerted effort to make Muslims in Canada legible to policy makers, Muslims will always be ambiguous, blurred, and muted group. Coherent and competent data analysis is essential to making a real impact on the state, needs and desires of Muslims in Canada. 

Environics Institute Survey of Muslims and MiCDI Policy Paper Series 

With the support of leading scholars in sociology, statistics and religious studies, MiCDI’s inaugural data projects consistent of two features. 

The first is an Environics Institute Survey of Muslims. Environics Institute has proven expertise in creating and implementing quality population level surveys, often with the support of community partners. Through the support of philanthropic partners, MiCDI will implement a new and expanded survey and create an extended research program that examines varying dimensions of the lives of Muslims in Canada based on survey and census data.  

The second is the MiCDI Policy Paper Series, which will integrate the Environics survey with the 2021 StatsCan census data. In 2021, Statistics Canada will include a question on religious identity, making it possible for the MiCDI research team to disaggregate Muslims from the entire census sample. 

Drawing on that data to create a sampling model, the MiCDI team will work with Environics to implement the survey in early 2023 to create the most up-to-date 

analysis of Muslims in Canada, and follow up with a series of papers addressing key issues facing Muslims across Canada. 

The project timeline: 

  • 2021: Convene community organizations to resource this exciting project, while developing a survey of Muslims in Canada. 
  • 2022: Receive raw data from StatCan 2021 census and disaggregate Muslims from the national sample to create sample model for purposes of survey implementation. 
  • 2023: Implement the survey of Muslims in Canada through Environics Institute by using the census data to create a sampling model with a 1,000 Muslim (and 200 non-Muslim) sample size. 
  • 2023-24: Research and publish the MiCDI Paper Series, informed by community consultation and drawing on the census and survey data. 

Opportunities to support the Muslims in Canada Data Initiative (MiCDI) 

We are seeking philanthropic partners — individuals, foundations and community organizations — to enable an unprecedented programmatic survey and analysis of Canadian Muslims. 

We invite those interested to contact us to discuss how you, or your organization, can be part of the MiCDI Supporters’ Circle.