How Canada’s Expat Muslim Community is Bringing Hope This Ramadan

March 6, 2024


  • Shireen Fisher

Canada has a vibrant and diverse Muslim community, with many expats who have chosen to call this country home. They not only observe all the traditions that come with Islam but also make a significant impact on their local communities.

For the Muslim community, Ramadan in Canada remains a time of deep reflection, spiritual growth, and self-improvement. Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk, focusing on prayer, charity, and strengthening their connection with God. Learn more about how Canada’s expat Muslim community and how they bring hope during Ramadan.

Canada’s Muslim Community

According to Statistics Canada data from 2021, Islam ranked as the second most commonly reported religion after Christianity, with nearly 1.8 million adherents. This constitutes about 1 in 20 individuals. Over 20 years, the Muslim population in Canada has more than doubled, going from 2.0% in 2001 to 4.9% in 2021.

The proportion of Canadians identifying as Muslim has more than doubled, soaring from 2.0% in 2001 to 4.9% in 2021. A considerable percentage of individuals from Arab and West Asian backgrounds embrace Islam, with 73.6% and 57.2%, respectively.

The Significance of Ramadan to Muslims and its Impact on Their Lives

Canada, a cultural mosaic, warmly welcomes the sacred month of Ramadan. As the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar approaches, Muslims across the nation prepare to embark on a journey of spiritual devotion and communal unity.

The Essence of Ramadan

Ramadan holds profound significance in Islam, serving as one of the five pillars of the faith. It commemorates the revelation of the Qur'an to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and fosters a deeper connection with the divine.

Central to this sacred observance is the act of fasting, where Muslims abstain from food, drink, and worldly indulgences from dawn till dusk. Through this spiritual discipline, believers cultivate self-restraint, empathy, and gratitude.

A Month of Compassion and Generosity

Apart from abstaining from physical nourishment, Ramadan is a period of heightened compassion and generosity. Muslims are encouraged to engage in acts of charity, extend kindness to others, and strengthen bonds within their communities. It is a time marked by selflessness, where individuals strive to alleviate the suffering of the less fortunate and foster an environment of love and understanding.

Fostering Community Spirit

At the heart of the Ramadan experience for Canada’s Expat Muslim Community is the sense of communal belonging and support. Families and friends gather for iftar, the evening meal to break the fast, fostering camaraderie and solidarity.

Mosques in Canada and across the globe become bustling hubs of activity, hosting prayers, lectures, and community events. This shared experience fosters unity and reinforces the values of empathy, tolerance, and forgiveness.

The Role of Canadian Expats in Bringing Hope During Ramadan

Canada’s Expat Muslim Community makes a positive contribution to their communities during Ramadan. Expats can foster understanding and strengthen the social fabric by participating in interfaith activities, sharing traditions, and supporting local businesses. Additionally, acts of charity, organizing community events, and volunteering professional skills allow them to demonstrate solidarity and contribute to the well-being of fellow citizens.

Contributions to Local Communities

Ramadan presents the Muslim community in Canada with a unique opportunity to not only observe their faith but also contribute to their communities. Through these acts of cultural exchange and community engagement, expats can build bridges, enrich their surroundings, and leave a lasting positive impact.

Interfaith Activities or Volunteering

Members of Canada’s Expat Muslim Community often participate in interfaith activities or volunteer with local organizations. This shows a willingness to engage with different cultures and perspectives. Expats can volunteer with organizations focused on education, healthcare, environmental protection, or other areas of shared concern. Participating in interfaith dialogue events or activities organized by religious institutions demonstrates respect for diverse beliefs and fosters understanding.

Sharing Ramadan traditions with colleagues and neighbors

The Muslim community in Canada usually invites colleagues or neighbors for an iftar meal, explaining the significance of the fast and offering traditional dishes. This allows them to share their cultural heritage while creating a space for dialogue and connection. Alternatively, they may organize cultural presentations or workshops to introduce others to Ramadan traditions, music, or art.

Supporting Local Businesses

Supporting restaurants and shops, particularly those owned by fellow expats or members of the local Muslim community, contributes to the local economy and demonstrates support for diverse businesses. Expats can also use their purchasing power to choose businesses known for ethical practices or community engagement.

Support For Those Who Are Less Fortunate

Beyond fostering vibrant connections within the host community, expats observing Ramadan in Canada have an exceptional opportunity to extend their support to those in need.

Contributing to Local Charities or Donating to Food Banks

This demonstrates compassion and solidarity with those in need, regardless of their faith or background. Muslim expats usually choose charities that align with their values or address specific community needs.

Organizing Community Iftar Meals That Are Open to All

Having community events where everyone is welcome to join in when the Muslim community breaks their fast creates a welcoming space for individuals from all backgrounds. This is a great opportunity to come together, share a meal, and learn about Ramadan. Expats can collaborate with local Muslim communities or organizations to organize such events, ensuring inclusivity and cultural sensitivity.

Using Professional Skills to Help for Local Development Projects

Muslim expats in Canada can leverage their professional skills, such as engineering, teaching, or healthcare, to volunteer for projects that benefit those in need and their community as a whole. This allows them to contribute meaningfully while sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Top 5 Reasons Why Muslim People Choose to Immigrate to Canada

Quality of Life

Canada stands out globally for its exceptional quality of life. Renowned for safety, it offers its citizens and permanent residents free public healthcare, minimal air pollution, and a healthier lifestyle. With a foundation of political stability and a commitment to tolerance and religious freedom, Canada fosters an environment conducive to overall well-being.

Besides being one of the most welcoming and inclusive nations, immigrating to Canada ensures that you and your loved ones can embrace a fulfilling life without sacrificing your cultural heritage. Canada's liberal government takes pride in its multicultural approach, warmly welcoming newcomers and embracing diversity.

Job Opportunities

Due to a growing retiring population and low birth rate, Canada has major labor shortages. This has resulted in around 800,00 vacancies left to be filled. You will find diverse job opportunities across various industries throughout the country. Major draw cards for Muslims who want to live and work in Canada are:

  • Competitive Salaries: Compared to many other countries, Canada offers competitive wages with opportunities for career advancement.
  • Job Security: Canada's robust economy translates to a relatively stable job market with lower unemployment rates compared to other developed nations.
  • Work-life balance: Canadian work culture encourages a healthy work-life balance, with typical workweeks ranging from 36 to 40 hours and paid vacation time and parental leave policies offered by many employers. Learn more about in-demand jobs in Canada.

A Solid Muslim Community

As mentioned above, Canada boasts a well-established and diverse Muslim community with nearly 1.8 million members, offering newcomers a sense of belonging and support. This translates to various resources and opportunities for integration that include:

  • Places of Worship - With over 1,000 mosques in Canada, these places of worship are spread across Canada, catering to various communities and providing spiritual guidance and a sense of community.
  • Community Centers: Organizations like The Islamic Community Centre of Ontario and others offer social services, educational programs, and cultural events, fostering connection and facilitating integration.
  • Online Communities: Platforms like Muslim Link and Canadian Council of Muslim Women provide online spaces to connect with other Muslims, share resources, and access information relevant to daily life in Canada.

World-Class Education at All Levels

Canada boasts a prestigious education system at all levels, offering diverse options for children and adults.

Primary and Secondary Education

Canada offers free, high-quality public education for all children, including immigrants and permanent residents. These schools are known for their diverse and inclusive environment, providing a strong foundation for future learning.

Several private institutions cater to specific needs, including many Islamic schools operated independently or affiliated with organizations like the Muslim Association of Canada. These schools offer a combination of religious and secular education, and individual research is recommended to find the best fit for your family's needs and priorities.

Full-time Islamic schools to consider include:

  • Calgary MAC Islamic School - Bridgeland Campus (Calgary)
  • Al-Furqan (Ottawa)
  • Toronto Al-Furqan (Toronto)
  • Niagra Islamic School (Niagra)
  • Olive Grove (Mississauga)
  • Maple Grove (Kitchener)
  • MAC Edmonton Islamic School (Edmonton)
  • Abraar Elementary School (Ottawa)
  • Abraar Secondary School (Ottawa)

Post-Secondary Education

Canada boasts world-renowned universities and colleges offering various undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines. These institutions attract international students seeking a high-quality education and potential opportunities to stay and work in Canada post-graduation. Discover the top universities in Canada.

Canada's Commitment to Keeping Families Together

Canada prioritizes family reunification, allowing permanent residents and citizens to sponsor their spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, and sometimes parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada and join them. While there are specific income requirements for sponsoring parents and grandparents, this policy reflects Canada's commitment to supporting families and fostering a sense of belonging. Learn more about Canada's Family Sponsorship pathway.


Are There Muslims Who Are Prominent in Canada?

Yes, many prominent Muslim Canadians have made significant contributions to the country in various fields. Included on the long list are:

  • Ahmed Hussen - Minister of International Development
  • Salma Ataullahjan - Senator representing Ontario
  • Nadir Al-Safi - Founder and CEO of Publicis Montreal, a leading advertising agency
  • Mustafa Ahmed - Poet and novelist, winner of the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize
  • Laira Ibrahim - Journalist and author known for her work on social issues and gender equality

How is Ramadan and Eid Special For Muslims in Canada?

Ramadan and Eid allow Muslim Canadians to express their faith and cultural traditions. Sharing meals, wearing traditional clothing, and participating in community events create a vibrant atmosphere and foster cultural exchange with the broader Canadian community.

Canada's multicultural and inclusive environment allows Muslims to celebrate Ramadan and Eid and practice their faith openly and freely. This freedom to celebrate without restrictions is particularly cherished by those who may have come from countries with less religious tolerance. Learn more about multiculturalism in Canada.