At least 10 people have been killed in an extremist attack in Somalia including Hodan Nalayeh, a prominent Somali-Canadian journalist and her husband. Nalayeh poses on a hill overlooking the city of Garoe, Somalia, in a recent handout photo published to social media. Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Hodan Nalayeh, Facebook, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Loved ones of Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh mourn after terrorist attack

She moved back to Somalia last year in an effort to tell positive stories of her home country

Family and friends of Hodan Nalayeh are remembering the Somali-Canadian journalist killed in a terrorist attack this week for her work redefining the global Somali identity through positive storytelling.

Nalayeh, a broadcast reporter born in Somalia with roots in Edmonton and Toronto, died with her husband in an attack at a hotel in the city of Kismayo, Somali officials have said, though Global Affairs Canada have yet to confirm the details of her death.

READ MORE: Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Naleyeh dies in Somalia extremist attack

She moved back to Somalia last year in an effort to tell positive stories of her home country through an independent media platform: Integration TV. She was seven months pregnant and is survived by her two sons.

“We will remember her as our hero, as somebody who is so invested in making sure the world knew the beauty of the Somali culture, Somali people, of Somalia,” said Farhiya Jama, a friend of Nalayeh’s.

“We lost somebody who wanted a future for us that was reimagined into a healthy image of us,” said the Somali visual storyteller based in Toronto.

Jama said Nalayeh first reached out to her in 2013, after she first started speaking about being a trauma survivor.

“She was constantly finding ways to affirm me, because social media wasn’t a great place for me when I first started sharing my story,” Jama said. “She was one of the first people to support my voice, because our Somali community can be very difficult to navigate when you are pushing against the norms.”

Jama, who is from the same Toronto neighbourhood where Nalayeh lived, said the journalist will always be admired as an important public figure in the Somali diaspora and her work reimagining the Somali identity will have a lasting effect.

Nalayeh wasn’t finished supporting the Somali community, a family member said.

Suad Galow, Nalayeh’s cousin, said she last spoke with the journalist a few weeks ago about launching a new project through her non-profit organization: the Somali Women Foundation.

She said Nalayeh was thrilled about the foundation and wanted to help gather sports equipment to give to kids in Kismayo, Somalia.

Galow, who lives in Fairfax, Va., but is currently in Somalia, went on to say that Nalayeh’s words of encouragement were like having “dreams come back to the country.”

“(It was to) make them smile, make them happy, make them see we care,” said Galow, who is currently in Somalia. “Everyone connected with her word, and supported her.”

Galow said when the family first heard of Nalayeh’s death, they locked themselves in their hotel and prayed and cried.

“It’s a tough day for me and for a lot of people. It’s very difficult to lose someone like her,” she said.

“She was so important, especially for what I’m doing right now empowering young women through sports and peace,” Galow said.

Lidia Abraha, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chamber’s new ED hopes to influence positive relationships in Campbell River

‘The greater community is only as strong as its pieces,’ says Mary Ruth Snyder

Striking Western Forest Products workers willing to ‘modify position’ if talks progress

Brian Butler, USW 1-1937 president, says union and WFP to meet Thursday, Dec. 12

Christmas Market raises more than $6,500 for struggling forestry families

Money, gifts, non-perishable food items donated to Loonies for Loggers

Regional board authorizes bylaws to fund Cortes Island community halls, first responder service

Negotiations on contracts to fund two community halls and provide first responder… Continue reading

KidStart wants you to give the gift of time this Christmas

‘It makes people feel valued, and that’s one of the most important things in the world’

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’

‘I could never have imagined anything like that happening,’ she said in a phone interview

B.C. patients wait 41% longer than national average to see a walk-in doctor: Medimap

The longest wait time was found in Sidney, B.C., where patients waited an average of 180 minutes

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

The Russell Troupe finds a comfort zone in small Island community

Family gathering with two parents and five kids a common scene around Chemainus

Most Read