Awards 2018-09-12T11:24:43+00:00

11 Awards: Endless Gratitude

MAX uses a robust nomination and application process to select its award recipients.
The deadline to nominate was April 15, 2018. Winners will be announced on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at the 3rd Annual MAX Gala.
If you have any questions please contact us at

The objective of the six MAX Awards is to recognize Muslims who have demonstrated significant achievement, leadership, and commitment to serving their community.

View MAX Awards Conflict of Interest Policy

Publicly Nominated Awards

Judging Process

All qualified candidates will be judged based on a combination of merit and public voting. Seven independent judges who will be selected based on their work experience, level of education, and contributions to the community within Canada will evaluate each candidate against the rubric. Their evaluation will carry a weight of 75% while the remaining 25% weight will be assigned to public voting.

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.

A nominee must:

  1. Self-identify as Muslim
  2. Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  3. Demonstrates significant achievement within the creative arts (e.g., art, music, dance, theatre, design and/or architecture)
  4. Have had a significant and positive impact on his/her industry and the larger Muslim  community
  5. Actively strive to elevate the Muslim brand by promoting a positive image of Muslims and the Muslim community in Canada

2018 Award Finalists

Timaj is an Ethiopian-Canadian multidisciplinary Storyteller, Arts Educator, and Creative Consultant. She uses spoken word poetry and theatre to engage individuals and communities. Her art is autobiographical, working at the intersections of a black Muslim woman challenging injustice, unearthing truths, and healing. As an award-winning Artist and Poet, Timaj Garad has performed at over 200 events across the country and facilitated several original arts-based workshops. She is deeply passionate about capacity-building through the arts, using critical arts education to create transform of individuals and communities.

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

The MAX Charity of the Year Award recognizes Muslim run charities and not-for-profit organizations that have demonstrated excellence in program design, service delivery and impact to their community.

A nominee must:

  1. Be Muslim majority run
  2. Be incorporated as a not-for-profit or a registered charity
  3. Have been operating in Canada for at least one year
  4. Clearly defined and publicly available mission statement
  5. Annual audited/reviewed financial statements, available publicly or upon request, for the last 3 years or since incorporation, whichever is shorter
  6. Deliver clear and measurable benefit to disadvantaged or marginalized members of the community. Eligible charities may seek to alleviate pain, spread joy or both
  7. Strive to elevate the Muslim brand by promoting a positive image of Muslims and the Muslim community in Canada

2018 Award Finalists

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.

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

The Muslim Awards for Excellence Community Excellence Award will recognize an individual that has demonstrated significant service to the Muslim Community and to Canada.

A nominee must:

  1. The candidate must self-identify as Muslim.
  2. Be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.
  3. Be actively involved in their community, either through an NGO, a registered charity or other community organizations – should be active for a minimum of one year.
  4. The candidate must embody the vision and mission of MAX, i.e.:
    • Mission Statement: Recognize, reward, celebrate & motivate high achievement, positive and productive contributions to society by Muslims in Canada.
    • Vision: Elevate the brand of Muslims in Canada.

2018 Award Finalists

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

The Muslim Awards for Excellence Entrepreneur of the Year Award will recognize an inspirational Muslim Entrepreneur who has had a significant and positive impact on the community through their business leadership.

A nominee must:

  1. The candidate must self-identify as Muslim.
  2. Be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.
  3. Be an owner or have some sort of ownership in the social or business venture.
  4. Demonstrate strong Entrepreneurial mindset:
    • Innovation
    • Strategic vision
    • Willingness to take risks
    • Faces adversity with enthusiasm
    • Leads others to new achievements
  5. Actively demonstrate Islamic values in work and life innovation.
  6. Have had a positive impact on the community, industry, and its employees.
  7. Actively contribute to elevate the Muslim brand.
  8. Have contributed by giving back to the community with time, product, donations, and/or support.

2018 Award Finalists

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, Canada’s largest online health, baby and beauty store. Prior to founding, 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.

A nominee must:

  1. Identify as non-Muslim
  2. Be Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  3. Have helped to elevate the Muslim brand by promoting a positive image of Muslims and the Muslim community in Canada
  4. Have promoted engagement between the Muslim community and broader Canadian society, thereby counteracting Islamophobia

2018 Award Finalists

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

The Muslim Awards for Excellence Woman of the Year Award will recognize a woman who has demonstrated significant achievement, leadership, and commitment to serving her community.

A nominee must:

  1. The candidate must self-identify as a Muslim Woman.
  2. Be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.
  3. Have demonstrated significant achievement and leadership for significant or distinguished achievement in a professional domain or community initiative
  4. Strive to elevate the Muslim brand by promoting a positive image of Muslim women and the Muslim community in Canada
  5. Have demonstrated a commitment to serving her community through volunteerism, charitable giving, or other activity

2018 Award Finalists

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.

Shireen Ahmed is a writer, public speaker and Sports Activist focusing on Muslim women in Sports, and the intersections of racism and misogyny in sport. She is an athlete, advocate, community organizer, and works with Youth of Colour on empowerment projects and is an avid sports coach and mentor. She is a regular contributor to Muslimah Media Watch, a former Global Sports Correspondent for Safe World For Women and Muslim Women in Sports website. She is part of a team of five women who create the weekly Burn It All Down podcast, which is the first feminist sports podcast that analyzes sports culture from an intersectional feminist lens. She is also on the advisory board of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) organization for the INSPIRE project that helps refugees using football as a vehicle to resettlement.

MAX Advisory Board Nominated Awards

Judging Process

MAX Advisory Board and a panel of prior year winners & finalists will be judging all qualified candidates based on merit.

Business Leader of the Year – Presented By: KPMG

The MAX Business Leader of the Year Award recognizes an inspirational Muslim business leader who has had a significant and positive impact in business and community initiatives. Eligible candidates can include leaders of for-profit corporations and not-for-profit enterprises.

A nominee must:

  1. The nominee must be a self-identified Muslim, and Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  2. Currently engaged in a leadership role in a business venture in a for-profit corporation or not-for-profit enterprise.
  3. Demonstrated leadership qualities that have enabled successful business outcomes. These qualities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Creativity and innovation
    • Unique or advanced technical proficiency
    • Ability to develop, communicate and build consensus for a vision
    • Willingness to take and ability to manage risks
    • Ability to drive and manage organizational change
    • Ability to empower teams to strive for excellent business outcomes
  4. Has had a significant and positive impact on their community, industry, and employees
  5. Actively strives to elevate the Muslim brand by promoting a positive image of Muslims and the Muslim community in Canada
  6. Has demonstrated commitment to serving his/her community through volunteerism, charitable giving, or other activity

Lifetime Achievement Award – Presented by: Aazar Zafar & Family

The Muslim Awards for Excellence (MAX) recognizes an individual every year with a MAX Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding professional achievement, service and dedication to the Muslim community and Canada.

A nominee must:

  1. The nominee must be a self-identified Muslim, and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  2. The lower age limit to qualify for this award is 60.
  3. The candidate must demonstrate significant achievement, creativity and leadership in a professional domain and through lasting contributions to the Muslim and Canadian community at large.
  4. The candidate has made significant contributions to their profession and community consistently over the course of their lifetime.
  5. Posthumous awards will be considered.
  6. The candidate must embody the vision and mission of MAX, i.e.:
    • Mission Statement: Recognize, reward, celebrate & motivate high achievement, positive and productive contributions to society by Muslims in Canada.
    • Vision: Elevate the brand of Muslims in Canada.

Platinum Awards for Excellence

The MAX Platinum Awards for Excellence recognizes a Muslim who has demonstrated significant achievement, leadership, and made a positive impact in their community.

A nominee must:

  1. The nominee must be a self-identified Muslim, and Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  2. Has demonstrated significant achievement and leadership in a professional domain and community initiatives.
  3. Strives to elevate the Muslim brand by promoting a positive image of Muslims and the Muslim community in Canada.
  4. Has demonstrated commitment to serving his/her community through volunteerism, charitable giving, or other activities.

Professional Excellence Award – Presented by: Torys LLP

The MAX Professional Excellence Award recognizes an inspirational Muslim who has demonstrated significant achievement in a professional domain along with consistent contribution to their community. Eligible candidates can include professional athletes and people of creative arts.

A nominee must:

  1. The nominee must be a self-identified Muslim, and Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  2. Has demonstrated a successful track record of leadership and achievements in a professional domain.
  3. Actively strives to elevate the Muslim brand by promoting a positive image of Muslims and the Muslim community in Canada.
  4. Has demonstrated commitment to serving his/her community through volunteerism, charitable giving, or other activities.