Turkish Muslims

When did Turkish Muslims first come to Canada?

A small handful of Turks migrated to Canada over 100 years ago;. However, the first significant wave of Turkish migrants began in the late 1950s. Turks have migrated to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) not just from Turkey but also the Balkans, Cyprus, the former Soviet Union, and more recently Iraq and Syria. 

Where do Turkish Muslims predominately gather in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)?

A number of Turks live in concentrated areas in the GTA:
  • Don Valley North, Don Valley East, York Centre, Willowdale, Humber-River Black Creek, and York.
  • Wexford area of Scarborough.
  • Western parts of Central and North Etobicoke. 
  • Fairview, Cooksville and East Credit areas of Mississauga.
  • Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Woodbridge.
Population estimate in the GTA: 23,000+

What are Turkish Muslims' lives like?

  • The Turks are a well established immigrant community within the GTA with their own associations, newspapers, radio and TV channels, schools, mosques and community groups.
  • Most Turks in the GTA, while fluent in Turkish, fuse English with their mother tongue.
  • There is a tangible difference between the lives of high-skilled Turks and Turks that enter Canada as refugees. This means Turks in the GTA are an eclectic mix of professors, students, computer programmers, Uber-drivers, and retail clerks.

PRAY
for Turkish Muslims in the GTA

  • There are few known Turkish followers of Jesus. Pray for this to change.
  • Pray for media outreach efforts to Turks in the GTA.
  • Pray the Lord will raise up labourers from Canadian churches to reach out to Turks in the GTA with Christ’s love and the message of the gospel.          
  • Pray that the stifling, suspicious and sensitive atmosphere for Christians in Turkey will change for the better.
  • Pray that all disciples of Jesus living under pressure for their faith will stand firm, grow in their love for Jesus, be protected from the enemy, and share the gospel with those around them. 

Prayer Resources

Prayercast is a website dedicated to activating prayer around the world.
For prayer resources on Turkish peoples, click the Prayercast logo.

What do Turkish Muslims believe?

  • The first 300 years of Christian history are filled with many rich stories of Christian faithfulness. At that time Christians and Turkey had a reputation for their benevolence to strangers, love for the poor, holy living and respect for the sanctity of life. 
  • For hundreds of years, the Turkish Ottoman Empire served as the guardian and advocate for all the holy places of Islam. 
  • Since the 1920s, Turkey has been officially a secular state; however, in recent times Turkey has experienced a dramatic erosion of its rule of law. The freedom of the press and freedom of religion is giving way to rising religious nationalism, restrictions and persecution. 
  • Most Turks traditionally follow Sunni Islam (Hanafi school of thought), although Alevism and Sufism forms of Islam are also present. 
  • A 2019 Konda poll surveying personal beliefs of individuals in Turkey found that young Turks are increasingly less willing to identify as religiously conservative. This same poll found that the number of people in Turkey who fast for Ramadan each year has fallen to 65%. 
  • Drawing on the above insights,  it appears that many in the Turkish diaspora—particularly young Turks—are increasingly secular in their thinking. That said, many Turks in the GTA are God-fearing and adhere to either an actively religious or nominally religious lifestyle. 
  • Sufism is an appealing alternative form of Islam to Turks living in the GTA.

Quick Facts

Test
Place of Origin:  Turkey is located between Western Asia and Southeastern Europe.
Language:  Turkish
Religion:  99.8% of persons living in Turkey are Muslims and 0.2% are Christians.
Population:  82 million
The meaning of the Turkish flag:  The red color is there to  commemorate  the blood of many soldiers that risked their lives to save the government. The crescent and the star  represents the islamic religion.
Status in GTA:  There are few known Turkish Muslim-background followers of Jesus in the GTA.

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