MAX Gala 2018 Finalists
The judges scores are in and it is time to vote! This is your chance to be a part of MAX and we want to know who you think has contributed the most to elevating the brand of Muslims in Canada! Voting ends August 15, 2018.
Artist Of The Year
The Muslim Awards for Excellence Artist of the Year award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated significant achievement within the creative arts.
Salma Hindy is a Canadian born comedian that brings awareness to everyday events with a hint of humor. She is a graduate from the University of Toronto holding a master’s in Clinical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Biomedical engineering. Hindy is a recent graduate of Stand Up Comedy from Second City Toronto, and has been performing at various comedy venues and events. She is actively involved in the community raising awareness and bringing attention to some of the many important parts in today’s Muslim world. Her comedy flavours range from politics to her experiences as a child of immigrant parents.
Yasin is a Toronto based photographer and Early Childhood Educator. He uses photography to showcase stories of perseverance, resilience, and the power of community. Raised in Regent Park, Osman began to take photos to document his rapidly changing neighbourhood. In 2015, Osman founded #ShootForPeace, a photo mentorship program in Regent Park, blending his background in early childhood education and passions for youth empowerment and photography. In 2017 he traveled to Somalia to collaborate with #LoveArmy, a humanitarian organization. During Osman’s time in Somalia he collaborated with other world renowned artists and Osman’s photos were pasted onto multiple water trucks all over the country. He currently focuses on humanitarian work, traveling to countries around the world to document stories of marginalization, culture and religion.
Aima is a strong vocal advocate for equality, and an unapologetic intersectional Feminist. She is a student at Ryerson University studying Arts and Contemporary Sciences. Aima was the ‘Create Dialogue’ winner for her piece ‘I ain;t your habibti’ for Adobe’s new initiative, Project 1324, in collaboration with TEDxTeen. Her winning piece was about the orientalist views people have of Muslim women by projecting their fetishized ideas and imposing barriers upon them. It also addresses her own personal experiences she has faced by being a visible Muslim Niqabi whilst being very vocal about issues many find controversial. Within one year, Aima had her art displayed in Toronto, New York, Dubai, London, and will have her art displayed in an upcoming gallery in Philadelphia.
Charity Of The Year – Presented by: Islamic Relief Canada
Give 30 is a volunteer-run organization that was created in 2012 to make a positive difference in the world through the inspirational power, empathy and social solidarity of Ramadan. It has grown into an international campaign against hunger and poverty. Today, Give 30 supports 17 food banks and anti-poverty organizations in Canada, the United States and Australia. So far, people of all backgrounds have united to raise almost $1 million to combat hunger and poverty. While inspired by Ramadan’s call to empathy and social solidarity, universalism is Give 30’s touchstone. It is a unique movement built on inclusion, compassion and the simple principle that we ought to help others regardless of who we are, or who they are. Give 30’s universalism seeks to transcend difference and division, to bring people together in common humanity. Give 30’s values are based on Compassion, Dignity and Unity. www.give30.org
Launched in 2006, Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline is a non-profit organization providing young Muslims immediate, anonymous, and confidential support over the phone. It is one of a few North American helplines focused specifically on Muslim youth and the unique struggles they face. Naseeha receives calls from all over North America, of every faith, race and culture. Their counsellors are young practising Muslims who come from various cultural and academic backgrounds. These are individuals who have displayed an in-depth understanding of the issues facing Muslims youth; exceptional involvement in the Muslim and North American communities as well as excellent academic accomplishments. The counsellors’ diversity facilitates Naseeha in serving North American Muslim youths of various backgrounds and experiences.
The first and only group of transitional homes for victimized Muslim women and children in Canada. They focus on social services, referrals, Islamic counseling, behavioural therapy, financial assistance, and sustainability planning. Prior to Nisa Homes, Muslim women in need were either referred to other shelters, where they were treated with bias and turned away due to their religion, or they were left to fend for themselves and their children. Nisa Homes does more than provide shelter for these women and children – it actively seeks to empower the women and children, not only at Nisa Homes, but also in the community at large. Nisa Homes works on preventative measures rather than just reactionary services through awareness, female empowerment and cultural and religious sensitivity training for other service providers in the women’s services sector. They conduct educational events sharing insight into the work being done and how each and every one of us has a role to play in ending violence against women.
SMILE is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide support and develop awareness of the limitations faced by children living with disabilities or critical illness in the Muslim Community. It connects families with community support and secures sources of sustainable funding to develop long-term support programs. Since its inception in 2007, SMILE has been a 100% volunteer run organization. SMILE provides direct support to over 75 families with monthly increases in referrals. SMILE’s network of over 150 volunteers and donors help provide assessments, financial assistance, therapy, children and youth events, and educational workshops. SMILE’s mandate is inclusion and accessibility for all. To that end, SMILE works with mosques and Islamic schools to make their spaces more accessible for all children.
Community Excellence Award – Presented by: IDRF
Kofi Achampong is a lawyer and political advisor in Ontario. He has spent time working for the African Union, World Trade Organisation, and International Lawyer’s Economists Against Poverty. He is the former President of the Osgoode Hall Black Law Students’ Association and the Coordinator of the TD-Bank Sponsored “Literacy Through Hip Hop”; a non-profit organization that utilizes the power of poetry and hip hop to develop reading, writing and presentation skills for youth in at-risk communities. Kofi is a co-organizer of the Black Muslim Initiative – a grassroots project that aims to address issues at the intersection of anti-black racism and Islamophobia through education, advocacy and resource development. He is also an executive of the Muslim Youth Fellowship Project – the first government sponsored (City of Toronto) Muslim-focused political internship program in Canada. He attended the University of Toronto (Trinity College) and is a former member of UofT’s Varsity basketball team.
Iqbal Ali is a Chartered Public Accountant, working with City of Toronto for 28 years and currently as Director of Financial Management. Iqbal Ali is a dedicated volunteer helping the community since arriving to Canada in 1990. He has helped many newcomer families to settle down in the GTA. Iqbal’s is involved in mainstream community agencies which helps to create an understanding and acceptance for Muslims. He is also one of the Founding Members of Muslim Community Services, Board member: Peel Children’s Aid Society, Our Place Peel, South Asian Canadian Health & Social Services. He is also a Multicultural Ambassador – World Vision Canada and the First Muslim Ambassador working in this Christian Missionary. He is also a Board member and Treasurer of Brampton Multicultural Community Services for 15 years. Lastly, he is the President of Tamil Nadu Multicultural Association of Canada (TMAC), providing various services at large, especially for families from Tamil Nadu India.
An internationally recognized researcher and accomplished academic administrator, Dr. Lachemi has been a key contributor to the growth and development of Ryerson over a transformational time in the university’s history. A Ryerson professor of civil engineering since 1998, before being appointed President and Chancellor in 2016, he served in progressively senior roles, including dean of the faculty of engineering and architectural science, and provost and vice-president academic. An award-winning teacher and mentor, he has acted as supervisor, co-supervisor, or advisor for over 60 Masters and PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates. Publishing in English and French, Dr. Lachemi has more than 200 peer-reviewed technical publications, book chapters and conference proceedings, and extensive contributions as an editor and technical reviewer. He has delivered more than 50 keynote addresses and invited presentations around the world. He is active in advancing international research collaboration, including membership in numerous professional societies and organizations.
Dr. Tayyab Rashid is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Health & Wellness Centre, and an associate faculty at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). He also teaches Executive Leadership at the IE University in Spain. For past 15 years, Dr. Rashid has worked on complex mental health issues, with survivors of severe trauma, and also on numerous Mental Health initiatives for the Muslim community in GTA. Published in academic journals, his book Positive Psychotherapy along with Martin Seligman, is considered the most comprehensive in the field. As co-chair of a National Campus Mental Health Group, Dr. Rashid has devised a comprehensive resource guide. Having trained mental professionals internationally, Dr. Rashid, has recently won Outstanding Practitioner Award from the International Positive Psychology Association and Chancellor Award from the University of Toronto.
Entrepreneur Of The Year – Presented by: Abrahams LLP
Ali Asaria is currently the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tulip Retail, an iOS mobile platform built exclusively for next generation retail store associates to offer a world-class Omni channel experience. He was formerly the CEO and founder of Well.ca, Canada’s largest online health, baby and beauty store. Prior to founding Well.ca, Ali worked at Research In Motion (RIM) where he independently developed BrickBreaker, the most popular Blackberry game that is now on more than 15 million devices worldwide. In 2005, Ali was RIM’s youngest patent recipient. Prior to RIM, Ali worked in Microsoft’s Redmond office on the Office 2007 User Interface Team. Ali has a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Samar Harb is the founder of Green Press, an organic cold pressed juice company focused on helping people live healthier lives with nutritionist developed products and services. Samar has established two stores and developed multiple retail partnerships with plans to grow the company into a staple within the health food industry in the GTA. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a double major in Geography and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) but went back to school to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Her passion for nutrition combined with her entrepreneurial mindset were driving factors in the creation of her company.
Amina founded her online business “Amanah Fitness” after her 60 pound weight loss journey to address the lack of health education in the Muslim community. At 25 years old, Amina has grown Amanah Fitness to an international online brand with a global customer base. Amanah Fitness has inspired thousands of Muslim women around the world to reconnect with their health through weight loss, nutrition and at-home exercise programs. Amina is pursuing her PhD degree in Health Psychology to advance research on Muslim specific barriers to health.
Nour Kaiss Soliman is one of Canada’s top Muslim female influencers on social media. She has over 350,000 followers across her platforms where she shares her life as an entrepreneur, wife, and mother to her daughter Yasmeen. Over the past 2 years Nour has propelled herself in the business world launching the first ever social shopping app for Muslims in North America called Souqina. In less than a year, with over 10,000 downloads she sold it and launched Nourka Co – a fashion label focusing on empowering modest wearing women worldwide. Nour started off with a collection of expressive scarves that highlight social issues she is passionate about. She just recently expanded her brand by releasing a trendy and inclusive modest clothing collection in collaboration with South African designer Nabilah Kariem. As of June 2018, Nour co-founded an organic ready-to-blend smoothie subscription company called Revive Organics.
Friend Of The Community – Presented by: Sargent Farms
The Muslim Awards for Excellence Friend of the Community Award recognizes a non-Muslim individual who has demonstrated outstanding service to the Canadian Muslim community. The MAX Friend of the Community will have assisted in the achievement of certain strategic goals in key areas of importance to the community.
Brian Arthur Brown, contributing editor of Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel and Quran, has presented the scriptures of Abraham’s family in one volume for the first time, including expert commentary, with the Quran recognized as the final testament of Western monotheism. This text is popular in universities and colleges across the world, as attested by endorsements of keynote speakers at the book launch in Washington in 2012, Dr. Sayyid Syeed, Director of the Islamic Society of North America, and Her Excellency Houda Ezra Nonoo, Ambassador to Canada from Bahrain. Since its publication, Dr. Brown has been a featured speaker at Sunni and Shia Institutes, Jewish synagogues and colleges, Christian congregations and seminaries across Canada and in every major American city, showing the relationship between the Quran and the revelations which preceded it, lecturing as far afield as Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and at Oxford University in England.
Joe is a Pastor of a downtown Toronto Church. He has helped unite the Canadian community through arrangement of events where Muslims and Christians in Downtown Toronto have come together. He has organized the support belt around Mosques in Toronto to support Muslims against Islamophobia. He has also supported the bill against Islamophobia in his congregation. He is an active Christians in support of Muslims and their rights as Canadian citizens and residents.
Tanya De Mello is the Director of Human Rights at Ryerson. She has worked in multiple sectors over her lifetime including as finance consultant at Deloitte and Touche LLP, for the United Nations in West Africa, South Africa and at the HQ in Geneva in humanitarian aid and is currently working at Ryerson University as the Director of Human Rights. Tanya has continually supported the Muslims community. Examples of her efforts include, for the last ten years, helping Muslims get into residencies from medical school who often face barriers to accessing residencies, helping them with applications and interviews; bringing the Pomegranate Tree group to Ryerson campus – a group aimed to empower Muslim women on issues of sexual violence and harm. She has als travelled to Kashmir, Pakistan, to do relief work in wake of the massively destructive earthquake for which she was awarded the Princeton International Student Award in 2006.
Woman Of The Year – Presented by: TD Bank
Samiya is a consultant, public speaker and a community animator who strategically fosters collaboration, connection and consensus to shift the public health system to be more equitable. Samiya`s philosophy is grounded in challenging multiple and intersecting forms of oppression; understanding marginalization in knowledge production, research and practice; and building equitable relationships. She is passionate about creating safe nonjudgmental spaces that foster growth, allow for failure and transformational learning. Through her practice Samiya engages in critical thinking and reflexivity to build relationships that promote empowerment and self-determination.More recently, Samiya became the founder member of the Somali Gender Equality Movement (SGEM) that seeks to promote greater inclusion for Somali female politicians across the globe (from Somalia to Toronto). In this capacity, Samiya has sought to ensure that women’s voices are included at the decision-making table in Masjids, community forums, and political debates.
Aisha Ahmad is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, the Director of the Islam and Global Affairs Initiative and a Senior Researcher of the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the CEO of Women in International Security-Toronto. She is currently a Senior Fellow at Massey College, and was formerly an International Security Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the author of Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamist Power (Oxford University Press, 2017), which was awarded the Best Book in Comparative Politics prize by the Canadian Political Science Association. She has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Iraq, and Lebanon, and has advised both government and international organizations on global security policies. Her research uncovers the economic drivers of conflict in war zones across the modern Muslim world.
Namarig Ahmed is a nurse with Inner City Health Associates and nursing coordinator for Palliative Education and Care for the Homeless (PEACH) and was heavily involved in the 2018 Journey Home Hospice initiative. Namarig has modeled the positive power of Muslims in Canada by leading in visionary work. She is a confident, educated, Black, Hijabi Muslimah, who challenges biases towards marginalized members of our society. Namarig also imparts knowledge as a guest-lecturer to undergraduate and doctorate students at the University of Toronto. Namarig’s visible presence in these leadership and advocacy roles reaffirm the Islamic duty to serve others, whether they identify as Muslim or of other beliefs. She shatters stereotypes by doing work that is bold, courageous, and of benefit to the Canadian community at large. Through her work, Namarig has demonstrated that she is a confident, trailblazing, empathetic, and determined professional. Her work ethic has had a profound influence in the homeless community in Toronto and beyond.