Where do we find the ‘Islamic’? What does Islam in Toronto look like? You may think to look to the mosques for the answer to these questions, and you’d be, well… right. But is that really all? You’d be sure to get a good sense of certain traditional Islamic practices and experiences but what if we open up our questions and try to see the Islamic elsewhere? If we broaden our scope and search for it, then we might be able to see its shades and hues dancing down side-streets and alleys, running through the cracks and potholes of our city.
Islam in the City… A Love Letter is a new publication from the Institute of Islamic Studies with this goal at its centre. To find and better understand the complexities and nuance of all that falls under the broad term of ‘Islamic’, it’s time for us to now look to and centre the people – to feature the stories and lived experiences of Muslim’s here in the GTA. In this inaugural edition, we are happy to share the stories of five such individuals: five brave and enthusiastic authors who offer us all a glimpse into their worlds and experiences as Muslim’s living in the city. We can go to Jummah prayers on Friday’s and see the Islamic there, dressed in fine and proper attire, but these stories show us the Islamic dressed down: in casual clothes and street ware, on the TTC heading to morning classes or an evening shift at a local cafe, marching by Queen’s Park in remembrance of heroes and martyr’s, shopping for groceries at the nearby market, and in quiet reflection in libraries and study rooms. Even if we look more closely at these traditional spaces and take in their surroundings, then we see that the Islamic is found on Yonge Street next to sex stores and amidst a sea of bubble tea shops, it’s on Dundas by Starbucks and sports bars. And somehow, it all works. These five stories featured here highlight these connections and experiences and show us that the Islamic is not distinct or apart from, but truly, beautifully, engrained in the everyday hustle-and-bustle of city life. By showcasing these stories and images, we’re excited to amplify more diverse and multi-faceted narratives of Islam, what it looks like, and where it can be found. We hope to celebrate the dynamism, energy, and vibrancy of the many Islamic experiences that can be found here in Toronto, if we just take the time to look.
Editor in Chief
Islam in the City… A Love Letter :