University of Windsor remembers Canadian-Somali journalist killed in terror attack

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Thursday 18th July 2019 09:23:03 in English News by Tafatiraha Guud
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    University of Windsor remembers Canadian-Somali journalist killed in terror attack

    A prominent Canadian-Somali journalist who recently returned to the troubled African country to document and share positive stories about how her

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A prominent Canadian-Somali journalist who recently returned to the troubled African country to document and share positive stories about how her


birth country is so much more than just war, famine and chaos was killed Friday in a terrorist attack on a hotel.

Hodan Nalayeh, whose online platform and social media presence reached hundreds of thousands, was killed with her husband and at least 24 others when a vehicle-borne bomb was set off outside the Asasey Hotel in the city of Kismayo and gunmen then stormed inside.

Nalayeh, 43, is survived by two sons from a previous marriage, her parents in Canada and 11 siblings. The founder of Integration TV — an online platform focused on "building a community of inspiring and uplifting stories for Somalis worldwide” — she was just a child when her family fled that country, and she only returned to Somalia last year as a news gatherer.





Working in sales and business after earning a BA in communications at the University of Windsor in 1998, Nalayeh said it had been her dream since childhood to be a journalist and storyteller.

Her last tweet the day before she was killed spoke of "an incredible day to witness #Somalia’s beauty on the island of #Ilisi.”

Members of the Somali diaspora spread around the world flocked to her online presence, which served to provide positive alternative narrative for the Horn of Africa country that, for decades, has experienced more than its share of misery and violence.

"We mourn her loss deeply, and all others killed in the #KismayoAttack,” tweeted Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, who was also born in Somalia.

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for last week’s attack, which also claimed 56 injured. The gunmen were killed in a 12-hour battle with security forces.

"She spent her life devoted to serving the Somali people and reporting on positive, uplifting stories,” her family said in a statement posted on Nalayeh’s Facebook page . She died "doing what she loved most,” the family said.



"Her dedicated mission was to spread light and love to the Somali world through her work in journalism. She brought inspiration and hope to the Somali people through story telling. She will be deeply missed.”

In a statement Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada "strongly condemns this heinous attack.”

Offering his "deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Hodan Nalayeh, Trudeau

called for creation of a safer world "where the media freedom so central to healthy democracies and strong societies can flourish.”

Nalayeh’s father, a former governor and Somali diplomat, fled with his family in 1984 to Canada, where he initially worked as a parking attendant in Alberta.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to Hodan’s family in this time of loss,” interim president and vice-chancellor Douglas Kneale said in a posting Monday on the University of Windsor’s webpage. The university, he said, was "deeply saddened” by the death of an alumna who graduated in 1998 with a BA in communication studies.




Nalayeh moved in 2018 to Kismaya, a port city near Somalia’s southern border with Kenya, and last November she married businessman Farid Jama Suleiman. She was pregnant at the time of her death.

A memorial and celebration of Nalayeh’s life is being held Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Royalton Banquet Hall in Woodbridge just outside Toronto.



thechronicleherald.ca

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