What is TTI?
The Tessellate Institute is an independent, charitable research institute that explores and documents the lived experiences of Muslims in Canada. Our goal is to provide educational projects and programs that highlight Canada’s Muslim heritage. We also publish independent reports and policy papers that advance the public discourse on issues related to Muslims in the wider Canadian society.
The word tessellate means to form small blocks into a larger pattern. It was an important feature of Islamic art and architecture, and also signifies the Canadian mosaic. In that spirit, we hope our work will contribute to enriching the great diversity of this country.
The Tessellate Institute was incorporated as a federal non-profit corporation in 2007. Its founders hoped that the institute would fill a gap in the Muslim community in the areas of research and public policy. They believed that the community was served by an abundance of religious institutions along with a few advocacy and social service groups, but outside of academia, few had taken on the challenge of producing policy-relevant research on the Muslim community in Canada.
In 2012, after a yearlong strategic planning process, the institute decided to focus its work on the historical and lived experiences of Muslims in Canada. It aims to be an intellectual platform through which Muslim and non-Muslim voices can combat Islamophobia, highlight positive Muslim contributions to Canadian society, and enhance the public debate on issues related to being Muslim in contemporary Canada.
- We are a non-partisan, volunteer based research organization.
- We are guided by a traditional Islamic commitment to social justice and pluralism, reflecting the principles set out in the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad.
- We are a research organization, and as such maintain an academically rigorous approach in all of our work. We aspire to complete objectivity and conform to the highest ethical standards when our research involves human subjects.
- We take an anthropological approach, meaning that we seek an empathetic study of the range of human experiences. Policy recommendations based on such research will always aim to be respectful of such diversity.
- We focus our research on the lived experiences of Muslims in Canada, recognizing that it covers a wide spectrum of interpretations and practices. We respect diversity of belief and practice as part of God’s Divine plan and aim to draw recognition to commonality while seeking dialogue over differences.
- We admire, and seek to encourage and improve, Canada’s tradition of reasonable accommodation as a mechanism for integrating Canada’s diverse ethnic and religious communities.
- We are proud of Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism, justice, pluralism and anti-racism, and seek in our work to uphold and advance these values in Canadian society.
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