It has been a personal and professional passion of mine to facilitate conversations about identity. My Ph.D. thesis was on this topic. Participating in forums on countering violent extremism allows me to combine my passion and expertise.
The Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, in partnership with the US-based start-up incubator Affinis Labs, held the first ever Haqqathon ("haqq" means "truth" in Arabic) from April 27-29, 2015. This hackathon brought together 25 Muslims (Shia and Sunni) from around the world including Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and Pakistan. Their various expertise included technology, psychology, youth culture, entertainment, Islamic scholarship, and other disciplines to create new social media and digital initiatives to help Islamic scholars connect with Muslim youth. The winners of the Haqqathon were the “Champions of Islam”, an App that highlights Muslim male role models to provide a sense of identity and possibilities of being Islamic in a civic and non-violent manner.
Activism, Reslience and Resistance
On December 13, 2014, I was a guest speaker at the "Activism, Resilience and Resistance" discussion held at City Hall by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. Young people in Ottawa were given a safe space to discuss the challenges of being Muslim Canadian, the strength in diversity and empowered to create change within their sphere of influence.
Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa
I have had the honour of being on the BGCO since 2010. I am the Chair of the Program Committee that oversees over 30 programs that provide holistic development for its members. The BGCO has served the Ottawa community since 1923, reaching out to 4,500 children and youth each year through after-school, weekend and summer programs that build self-esteem and help to deliver stronger social skills. The variety and quality of these programs are evidence based and designed to be engaging, accessible for all, and contribute towards the overall development of good citizens and leaders within the community. Success is achieved through the dedication and commitment of quality staff, community partners and volunteers.
May 2016, 2017 & 2018
Every year it is an honour to be a part of BGCO's breakfast fundraiser. They do incredible work to make over 4500 children feel welcomed, respected and valued. Their service is commendable. In addition, it is always a privilege to work with members of the Ottawa Police Service who work hard to make our city safe.
May 6, 2015
Another successful fundraiser with support from private end public organizations. And, as always, it is about helping kids and giving back to the city in which we live.
June 19, 2014
Senator Mobina Jaffer graciously recognized, at the Senate, the hard-work, dedication and commitment the BGCO displays every day when they engage with the children of the Ottawa community. It provided a tremendous platform for the Club.
For me, personally, it was a very humbling experience. I remember the day I got my Canadian citizenship. I wore a yellow dress with butterfly sleeves and felt so proud. My family had moved to Canada when I was 4 years old to escape the Idi Amin regime. Although we didn't have much money and had different cultural experiences, we embraced our common values of working hard, education, integrity, and contributing to our society. To have my name recorded in Canadian history and to be recognized at the Senate today was very profound.
May 15, 2013
For the last 5 years, the BGCO has been hosting a breakfast fundraiser that has seen support from generous citizens from all sectors including Federal, Provincial and Municipal sectors, as well as private citizens. It is heartening to know that the Ottawa community cares about the welfare of all its children and believes in the work the Club does to develop strong citizens. Thank you to my RCMP friends for demonstrating their support.
November 19, 2012
In partnership with the RCMP, RCMP Foundation and the BGCO, the RCMP hosted a one day symposium entitled "Together We are Strong". 24 female BGCO members were challenged and empowered to create change within their own community (e.g., school, neighborhood, city, etc.) They learned about issues affecting girls around the world, they discussed local concerns, and heard from prominent Ottawa women about how they overcame barriers to succeed.
Arifah Baksh, aged 14 years, was the winner of $1000 to implement her plan to provide supplies to a school in Ghana. Her message was pretty profound. She stated that "…..There’s one phrase that is stuck in my mind. It’s wiggling around, trying to make sense of itself. That phrase is “It’s not a problem that is unsolvable. We don’t have to invent something new. It just takes political will” Sheryl WuDunn. I agree with her words, but I don’t even think it’s political will, it’s just will in general. We have to want to help girls around the world. We can’t just say that we feel pity about what they go through. It’s not enough. We need that extra push, the drive, the motivation. Whatever you want to call it, that’s what we need”