A research institute producing original and relevant research, policy analyses, and forums about Canadian Muslim communities.
We provide governments and Islamic organizations with valuable research-based policy recommendations.
The Institute for Religious and Socio-Political Studies (I-RSS) uses inter-disciplinary academic research to actively shape and contribute to the discourse about Muslims and Islam in North America, especially Canada.
As a non-profit research institute, the I-RSS mission is to produce original and relevant research, filling the gaps in North American academic policy circles. I-RSS does this by creating much-needed space for research, outreach, advocacy, and discussion.
I-RSS acknowledges that Muslims and Islam have a long history in Canada and North America. We recognize that despite the vast impact of Muslims on all aspects of society, negative perceptions have continued to increase, especially since 9/11. These perceptions have been fueled by the Islamophobia “industry," global events, and an overall lack of awareness about the religion’s tenets and the rich diversity of Muslim communities.
I-RSS affirms that changing a culture of misunderstanding and misinformation requires intentional, collaborative effort to develop research-based knowledge and anti-oppressive frameworks for critical analysis about Islam and Muslims.
We develop original research publications and host forums at I-RSS which facilitate discussion around our research, bringing together academics, Islamic organizations, community leaders, activists, and experts.
I-RSS believes in the practical application of research findings, producing policy analyses and providing recommendations on issues concerning Muslims to Islamic organizations. I-RSS research also informs all levels of government for better engagement with North American Muslims.
Areas of Interest
Muslim youth are on oft-neglected stratum of community which require their own unique understanding and attention. I-RSS examines the challenges young Muslims face, especially relates to identity. Through this research, I-RSS develops youth-driven pathways of support and resilience using evidenced-based research.
Muslims in Canada, by definition, reject homogeneity and are primarily defined by their diversity. Canadian Muslims shape their communities through a number of particular, converging factors - something comparatively under-studied. I-RSS offers up-to-date examinations of shifting trends in Canadian Muslim communities, their primary issues and foci (at all levels of society), and a deeper look at how these communities identify and understand themselves.
Islamophobia permeates personal and institutional relationships across North America. It has a detrimental effects on every aspect of Muslim life. Our research explores Islamophobia through different lenses, also examining how Muslim advocacy groups can learn from other marginalized communities and apply those learnings to anti-Islamophobia efforts.
Religion & Public Life
The examination of Islamic concepts in contemporary contexts that have different historical genealogies is an area of interest at I-RSS. Exploring how Muslim scholarship evolves around specific jurisprudential concepts and points of philosophical inquiry in the Canadian context is crucial for understanding how Muslim communities deal with such contexts and self-identification.
More than a mosque or place to pray, many Islamic organizations serve as spaces for Muslims to gather, socialize, and build community. Our research on Islamic organizations includes studying their impact on Muslims and broader North American society via the organizations' community outreach, social services, and other programs offered.
Through our ongoing research on Islamophobia, youth and community trends, as well as in examining the impact of Islamic organizations offering support for challenges faced by Muslims across the country, one particular focus that continues to emerge is the development of a Muslim identity. At I-RSS, our work on Muslim identity development is grounded in up-to-date interdisciplinary research.
I-RSS brings together a pool of objective, independent scholars who can provide original research with critical analysis that aligns with our research focus.
Our publications are meticulously researched according to the highest ethical standards in the social sciences and humanities. Our work benefits from critical feedback from our academic advisory council and project-based supervision. The final stage of publication for I-RSS is submission to peer-reviewed academic journals and similar publications. This is in addition to in-house reporting and dissemination of research information through media and educational streams.
Academic forums are a cornerstone of what we do at I-RSS, offering community members the opportunity to discuss the research produced by I-RSS, initiating dialogue and formulating tools to engage academics, activists, and policy makers in government.