Religious Diversity and Teacher Education: Experiences and Perspectives of Muslim Women as Teacher Candidates in Pre-service Programs
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This qualitative research project explores the insights of Muslim women as teacher candidates completing pre-service programs in Ontario. Ontario schools cater to students from many ethnic, cultural and religious groups, including a sizable Muslim population. Muslims make up 4.6% of Ontario’s population with the highest concentration of Muslims in the GTA (Statistics Canada, 2011). The Muslim population in Ontario is of a significant enough number that, in a post 9/11 world, it has prompted discussion of how to integrate Muslim populations in Canada. In this research, I explore how Islamophobic sentiment is experienced in Ontario-based teacher education programs. I use Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Critical Race Feminism (CRF) to analyse and deconstruct experiences of female Muslim teacher candidates in pre-service programs. I discuss how Muslims are a racialized group that experience racism as discussed by critical race literature; however, there is a marked difference between how Muslim men and women experience gendered Islamophobia. By using in-depth research-based interviews, I explore how Muslim women perceived diversity, education, accommodations and Islamophobia in pre-service programs. This study adds to the current literature on critical race theory and anti-racist practices in education. Furthermore, this study adds to the voice of Muslim women in the discussion of diversity and inclusivity in educational institutions.