The City of Vancouver was established through the displacement, erasure, and exclusion of Black, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and People of Colour (BIMPOC) communities. This displacement, erasure, and exclusion based on race had the secondary effect of excluding racialized spiritual beliefs and religious traditions. This erased spiritual spaces that existed pre-colonization and prevented non-Christian spiritual traditions from having space in the City of Vancouver post-colonization. At the same time, land and space were made available to European settlers and their spiritual beliefs. Churches were able to gain access to valuable land in the core of the Metro Vancouver region, and in the most valuable properties in the city, such as Downtown Vancouver. This has created a spatial inequity in which spaces for other spiritual/religious communities are mainly located on the margins, which has led to a less-inclusive city for racialized religions. The focus of this policy brief will be to examine the exclusion of the Muslim community in the City of Vancouver. This exclusion has led to a lack of spaces for Muslim youth to live in accordance with their cultures and belief systems.
Due to its historic complicity in the dispossession and exclusion of racialized communities and spiritual beliefs, the City of Vancouver has a responsibility to provide redress and reparations for these communities. The lack of spaces in the City of Vancouver for Muslims, and Muslim youth in particular, prevents them from fully engaging in the cultural life, economy, and conversations happening in the city. In order to address this issue, the City of Vancouver must support the creation of spaces for the Muslim community in general, with a specific focus on Muslim youth. The City of Vancouver must also ensure that the spiritual needs of all communities are met, not only communities that have privileged from colonization. Supporting the spiritual needs of all communities should be based on an equity framework that acknowledges the history of erasure and exclusion of BIMPOC peoples.