The Muslimah of the Year Award honours one inspirational woman for her exemplary character and efforts to better the community. Here are some of our amazing nominees this year!
Ginella Massa is a reporter for CityNews Toronto. She became Canada's first hijab-wearing on-air reporter in January 2015 when she was hired as a Video Journalist for CTV News Kitchener. Ginella has worked for various local and national news outlets, both behind-the-scenes and on-camera, including CityNews, CTV News, NewsTalk 1010 Radio, and Rogers TV. She often writes about issues affecting Muslims in North America, and has been published in the Globe and Mail and National Post. Ginella graduated with an Honours BA in Communications and Sociology from York University, and has a diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Seneca College.
Ibtissam Mustaq is a Canadian-Bangladeshi woman who grew up in Toronto and traveled everywhere she could. Her parents always provided the example taking action when needed, and so she has found herself involved in a lot of social initiatives, including those affecting the Muslimah community in Toronto. She wants women to feel confident and have a voice, no matter their circumstance.
Farina Siddiqui champions several community causes that aim to build bridges of understanding and respect. As a freelance writer and social activist, she blogs on social media to highlight community causes, issues & accomplishments. She is the President and Co founder of MomLinks Canada, an organization that focuses on Mom's empowerment, helping to facilitate mothers and childrento be educated, meaningfully engaged and equipped with essential life skills. Currently, Farina Siddiqui serves as the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Multicultural People (CAMP), a community-based organization she founded in 2007 with an inter-generational focus for both youth and seniors. Her passion is to empower families to lead mentally, physically and socially healthier, more successful lives.
Tendisai Cromwell is a filmmaker, writer, and journalist. Her foray into journalism began on the streets of Palestine as a reporter for a Ramallah-based publication in 2009. Since then, Tendisai has written for various publications and produced radio segments at CBC’s The Current while also completing the Master of Journalism program at Ryerson University. In 2014, Tendisai founded the production company New Narrative Films where she most recently produced a documentary exploring the relationship between spirituality and social change. She also writes creatively and, on occasion, performs her works one of which is included in an anthology. Beyond her creative and journalistic endeavours, Tendisai can often be found sipping tea and planning her next travel destination.
Noor Javed is a reporter on the city desk who covers everything from suburban municipal politics to human-interest stories, to features reflecting the Greater Toronto Area's diverse communities. In 2011, Noor was awarded a National Newspaper Award for her analysis and reporting on Toronto's booming condo market. When she's not chasing stories or York Region politicians, Noor can be found on social media or trying to keep up with her two young children.
Asmaa Hussein, an eloquent and inspirational individual, is the mother of a precious little 2 year old daughter and widow of a martyr. Asmaa’s husband, Amr Kassem, was shot by a sniper in Alexandria, Egypt while peacefully protesting the mass killings of protesters at Rabaa Square in August of 2013. Since that time, she has been gathering a large crowd of followers and supporters around the world with her compelling spiritual and thoughtful posts and reflections of how she deals with grief, struggle, and personal growth in the aftermath of the loss of her husband.
Heralded as the woman who stood up to the Harper government’s ban on niqab, Zunera is a busy member of the Missisauga family, arriving to Canada 7 years ago. She is a mother of four, works with the Sisters Wing of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and also actively volunteers for local hospitals, outreach projects, and community events. She holds a Masters Degree in English Literature and is currently on her way to becoming a certified teacher in Ontario.
Lindsay Contractor is recognized for her outstanding contribution in the entrepreneurial sphere. As the owner of a business bringing halal marshmallows, smores, gummys and other yummy treats, her company was most recently featured in the Toronto Star. While the demand for her novelty candy items has been increasing in popularity, she also been involved in starting many popup shops around the GTA. Her product has even reached the mainstream market as many Freshco locations now carry her line. But perhaps, most importantly, Lindsay has been an inspiring leader to many through her perseverance and push to success. Her encouragement of other women to reach their potential is well known and she continues to strive towards excellence in her endeavours.