Muslim Immigrants and Integration Challenges: The Role of Religion, and the Lives of the Second Generation

Research team: Abdie Kazemipur, University of Lethbridge; Research assistants to be recruited

Adoption of a ‘Muslim exceptionalism’ perspective by policy-makers could result in misinformed policies and informal practices, such as restricting immigration from Muslim countries, treating religiosity as a (negative) criterion for admission, or raising the level of surveillance of Muslim immigrant communities. The research project aims to assess the validity of assumptions about ‘Muslim exceptionalism’. To achieve this, the study will attempt to develop a better understanding of: (a) the thoughts of Muslims on their immigration and post-migration experiences, as well as their views on their future in Canada; (b) the role of, and experiences with, religion in relation to these views and the processes that produce them; and (c) possible differences in the experiences of 2nd generation Muslim immigrants.

A mixed methods approach will be adopted consisting of: (1) qualitative methods to provide an overview of current realities; (2) quantitative methods to detect general patterns and anomalies; (3) qualitative methods to develop hypotheses and theoretical possibilities; and (4) quantitative methods to test research hypotheses. The data sources include Statistics Canada surveys, Environics’ Survey of Canadian Muslims (to be conducted later this year), and face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions with Muslim immigrants. The project’s geographical focus is Alberta, though this could be expanded if additional resources become available or partners join in to expand the project to other provinces.