Our Researchers

Our researchers have a diverse background and bring together a wealth of experience across many sectors. Their invaluable contribution forms the bedrock of our work as a research institute.

Research Fellowships are intended to provide a platform for scholars and researchers to further their work on the many facets of Muslims experience in Canada. If you are interested in an appointment as either a Research Fellow or Assistant, please contact us.

Director of Research

Dr. Katherine Bullock

Katherine became active in the Muslim community in 1994 when she converted to Islam during the second year of her PhD in political science. After encountering negative reactions upon her wearing a headscarf, she decided to change her thesis topic to focus on Western reactions to the veil. Since then she has been seeking ways to bring Muslim voices to the fore. Co-founding The Tessellate Institute in 2007 has been part of that journey.  She was President most years from 2007-2017.  Beyond TTI she is a Lecturer at the University of Toronto, operates a small independent publishing company, and is President of the Islamic Society of North America-Canada. She also works hard at being present for her children.

Senior Research Fellows

Abdulla Al-Shami

Working Paper: Islamic Perspectives on Basic Income, forthcoming, August 2017.

TTI is honoured to welcome Abdullah Al-Shami, Ph.D as the research fellow for the Islamic Perspectives on Basic Income research. Dr. Al-Shami obtained his I.L.B. in Islamic Law (Shari’ah), I.L.M Degree in Comparative Islamic Jurisprudence from Saudi Arabia, and PhD in Comparative Islamic Jurisprudence from the University of Manchester, UK.  He is internationally recognized for his research in the field of comparative Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic Studies with additional expertise in Islamic banking and finance. His research interests focus on Comparative Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Studies including: the Judicial Authority System in Islamic Law; Islamic Family Law; Islamic Law of Transactions and Finance; Islamic Ethics and Values.  His appointments have included Professor of Comparative Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Studies at the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, Islamic Law Professor and Chancellor of Saba University (Yemen). He has published five books and more than 60 articles.

Research Fellows


Dr. Fatimah Jackson-Best is a researcher whose work focuses on vulnerable communities in Canada and the Caribbean, with a specialization on mental health, wellness, and self-care.

She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and conducted her dissertation research project on women’s experiences of maternal depression in Barbados. Following this, Dr. Jackson-Best took an appointment as a Global Health Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Ottawa and conducted a cross analysis of mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and physical disability stigma with a focus on interventions and intersectionality frameworks.

Dr. Jackson-Best currently does research consultancy work in Canada and the Caribbean, and recently worked with the Trinidadian NGO I Am One to pilot ‘Your Story’, a human-rights focused study which explores the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in the Caribbean. Her work has been published in peer reviewed journals such as Gender and Education, the Journal of International Women’s Studies, and the Southern Journal of Canadian Studies.


Lina Khatib is a public policy professional with a Masters from the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University and over five years of experience working with organizations in the realm of research and social policy. In her time at the Ontario Ministry of Education and the United Way of Calgary and Area, she developed policies to improve the health and well-being of students and vulnerable populations. She enjoys engaging with stakeholders and taking the time to understand the fundamental issues that impact the health of people and communities.

Nakita Valerio

Working Paper: Jewish Responses to anti-Semitism in Canada: Lessons Regarding Anti-Muslim Racism (February 2018).

Nakita Valerio is an academic, advocate and writer on Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton. She recently finished graduate studies in History and Islamic-Jewish Studies at the University of Alberta. Her SSHRC-funded thesis is entitled “Remembering the Departure of Moroccan Jews (1948-1968)” and examines the contemporary memory of the departure among historians, Jewish emigrés in Canada, France and Israel, and popular performative sources such as in film and online. Her work excavates the discursive, ideological environments in which those memories continue to be formed and how they affect current Moroccan Muslim-Jewish relationships in different geographical contexts. Her research assistantship with Professor Jocelyn Hendrickson was on the subject of “encounter” between medieval, Mediterranean Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Most recently, she is co-editing a special edition journal with Professor Andrew Gow on the subject of Critiquing Secularism – an analytical look at the medieval genealogies of modern secularism and how they construct contemporary relations between Muslims, Jews and others in Christiano-form nation-states.

As the Vice President of External Affairs with Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council, Nakita’s community work centers on bridge-building between cultural groups (particularly Muslims and Jews) and on combating Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and discrimination in all forms. She is co-founder of the Edmonton chapter of Salam-Shalom Muslim-Jewish Women’s Collective. She has delivered over 60 public lectures about Islam, anti-Muslim racism, Judeophobia, and feminism. She also sits on the advisory committee for the Chester Ronning Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life, the Executive Board for the YIWCL Cree Women’s Camp, and is a director with the Edmonton Heritage Council.

M. Anum Syed

Working Paper: On Dominant Discourses about Canadian Muslim Women: The Need to Promote Peacebuilding, January 2015.

M. Anum Syed is a young Muslim woman currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Toronto. She is also a social worker by profession and has worked in promoting the career development and employability of newcomer women and youth in Toronto. Her research focus is related to anti-oppressive education, community development with multicultural Muslim women and youth and culturally competent social work practice with diverse populations. Her growing interest is exploring the field of international social work and community-based peacebuilding initiatives led by Muslim women.

Research Assistants


Research Project: Annotated Bibliography, 2015

Yuliya Barannik is a Ukranian-Canadian writer and visual artist. Originally from Crimea, she lived in Montreal for a decade before moving to Toronto. She holds a D.E.C. in Fine Arts from Dawson College, an Honours B.A. in English literature with a Minor in Print Media from Concordia University, and a M.A. in the Field of Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. She won the Hart House Review Fiction Prize in 2014. Yuliya is part of the Muslim Writers’ Collective and is currently working on a series of short stories. 



Research Project: Effects of Television Images of Muslims on Audiences, 2015

Steven is a journalist and writer with a strong interest in Western Muslim communities in a post 9/11 context. He has worked for the CBC, Ottawa Citizen, and was an Editor at The Mark News, an op-ed syndication company. He is a regular contributor to Al Jazeera English, The American Conservative, The Islamic Monthly, among other outlets. He has a Master of Journalism from Carlton University. Follow him on Twitter: @stevenzzhou

Steven is currently a Board Member at The Tessellate Institute.


Research Project: Media and Hate Crimes, 2015

Sanaa Ali-Mohammed obtained her HBA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Toronto and is currently a Master’s student in International Development at York University. Her research examines discourses mobilized by university educated women in Saudi Arabia to improve gender justice and features ethnographic interviews with female students and graduates in the country.


Research Project: Curriculum Pack, 2015

Aisha’s focus has been largely on education, from her work as a college instructor to policy development initiatives at the university level. She currently works as an Advisor for the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. She holds an M.A. in Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her interests include the experience of minority groups in Canada, youth activism, spirituality, and education.


Working Paper: On Dominant Discourses about Canadian Muslim Women: The Need to Promote Peacebuilding, 2015

Saeeda N. Noor has a Master of Education in Adult Education and Community Development from the University of Toronto. She is passionate about women’s development causes and her research interests are in holistic curriculum and education and the importance of Islamic spirituality in the lives of racialized immigrant women. She also holds a Master of Political Science from Pakistan and has worked in a number of Canadian and international non-profit and social development projects.

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