Celebrating Canadian Islamic History Month

A coloured illustration of Abu Bakr al-Razi (also known as Rhazes), a physician, examines a kneeling boy who has his mouth wide open, they are in a surgery full of equipment. This colour process print was done by Hossein Behzad in 1964, and is hosted by Wellcome Images.
An illustration of Abu Bakr al-Razi (Hossein Behzad, 1964).

Islamic History Month is recognized across Canada each October, with this year marking the 15th anniversary of this celebration. This month is a time to educate ourselves on the historic and current contributions of Muslims in health care, medical education, and beyond.

One such figure in medieval medicine is Abu Bakr al-Razi, who was a multidisciplinary thinker and one of the greatest Muslim physicians. His two most notable works, the Comprehensive Book on Medicine (Kitab al-Hawi fi al-tibb) and the Book of Medicine Dedicated to Mansur, were translated into Latin and became widely influential in medieval Europe. He also published one of the first treatises on the difference between smallpox and measles.

Today, we know that Islamophobia continues to present itself in our communities and institutions. It’s important also to recognize the intersections of racism and religious intolerance experienced by Black Muslim community members. We invite you to attend the upcoming Islamophobia and Higher Education: Intersectionalities & Critical Conversations conference, where many Muslim professionals will engage in deeper learning of these complex issues.

At the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, we are happy to share two milestones in improving the experience of Muslim community members.

  1. The "Standards For Religious Attire For Health Care Workers, Learners And Volunteers In Hospital Areas With Sterile Procedures (ASP)” were approved by the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) in June 2022. These standards have been disseminated to leaders across all TAHSN affiliated hospitals to guide development of each hospital's policies to accommodate the needs of religiously diverse learners. 
  2. We are pleased to announce that Roshan Arah Jehangeer is joining Temerty Medicine as the inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamophobia in Health Professionals Education. She studied political science at York University and is a Sessional Instructor at the School of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at York’s bilingual campus, Glendon College. She is a well published author and scholar. Her doctoral research explores the transnational circulation of anti-veiling laws and debates between France and Quebec in the contexts of secularism, feminism, and Islamophobia.

Let us take this opportunity to learn about Islam and to reflect on how we can develop meaningful relationships with the Muslim community.

Umberin Najeeb, MD, FCPS (Pak), FRCPC

Associate Professor of Medicine,
Faculty Lead Equity & Co-Director Master Teacher Program
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

Senior Advisor on Islamophobia
Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto