To advance the commitment of the University of Toronto to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, the University established an institutional table in 2017/18 with key partners to discuss issues of Islamophobia impacting the University community. In 2019/20, the institutional table was evolved and renamed the Anti-Islamophobia Working Group (AIWG), with a focus on representing the diverse interests of the Muslim communities within the U of T community, providing advice and key information to institutional leaders, and advancing dialogue and learning for the University community.
In 2020/21, the AIWG was supported by interim Co-Chairs Professor Nouman Ashraf, and students Basmah Ramadan and Zarfishan Qureshi. The University extends great appreciation for their efforts during their time as co-chairs.
Between 2020 and 2022, the landscape of institutional working groups shifted with the launch of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, Antisemitism Working Group, and Anti-Asian Racism Working Group, which included time-limited mandates for the working groups to engage in consultations with the university community and provide a singular report with recommendations to senior leadership, after which the working groups are disbanded.
Current Context – 2023/24
The Institutional Equity Office and ARCDO will be revising the mandate and the Terms of Reference for the Anti-Islamophobia Working Group so that it aligns with the current structure of institutional anti-racism related working groups as shared above.
This process will include the appointment of new co-chairs and a call-out for membership for students, staff, faculty, and librarians who wish to participate in the working group within this new structure.
As part of its 2023 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) programming, ARCDO will be hosting a community discussion forum, which will invite community sharing on the experiences of Islamophobia and the building of more inclusive spaces for Muslim community members across the tri-campus. More details will be provided on ARCDO’s website. The report from this community forum will be shared with leadership and will be submitted to the future co-chairs of the AIWG as they advance the Working Group’s revised mandate.