Community Engagement Policy

August 15, 2022

A PDF version of this policy can be found here.

The Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) is committed to the pursuit of advanced research in the study of Islam and Muslims as its core academic mission. The IIS adheres to the principle of academic freedom and abides by the Purpose Statement of the University of Toronto, which states:

The University of Toronto is dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish, with vigilant protection for individual human rights, and a resolute commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and justice.

Within the unique university context, the most crucial of all human rights are the rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. And we affirm that these rights are meaningless unless they entail the right to raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself.

It is this human right to radical, critical teaching and research with which the University has a duty above all to be concerned; for there is no one else, no other institution and no other office, in our modern liberal democracy, which is the custodian of this most precious and vulnerable right of the liberated human spirit.

As a research unit in a publicly supported university in democratic Canada, the IIS recognizes it also has a responsibility to facilitate research that has the potential to recalibrate public debates in which Islam and Muslims serve as problematic tropes, and which undermine our democratic core value as a society. One way in which the IIS pursues its public-facing mission is through partnership with stakeholders outside the academic context. Stakeholders, such as not-for-profit organizations and others, offer an important insight into the day-to-day realities that can inspire innovative research design and production.

Examples of IIS projects in partnership with non-academic stakeholders include the Muslims in Canada Archives (MiCA), data-research projects currently in progress under the auspices of the Muslims in Canada Data Initiative (MiCDI), and the research study on CRA audits of Muslim-led charities in Canada.

As we pursue innovative research projects collaboratively with others, we recognize these as important and timely engagements in which all parties to the project share a specific commitment consistent with the principles and priorities of all parties involved. The IIS does not expect community partners to alter their varied priorities and policies to align with those of the IIS or the University of Toronto, nor will the IIS alter its core mission and purpose.