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

Restaurants at the Prestige in Radium “ready and eager to welcome patrons”

Conrad’s Kitchen and Grill as well as Don Agave Cantina re-open.

Local company’s sweet burn fades

Local owners Dave and Kathy Sutherland are moving on, leaving stockpiles of their jelly dwindling.

Video invites visitors back to valley

Chamber video says: “Hey, hey! Come back and play, play.”

Invermere deer ‘hoofs’ woman and dog

Aggressive deer incidents increase this year, as woman and dog left bruised and injured

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Commercial huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenays

The province of B.C. has banned commercial-scale picking from July 15 to October 15

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Most Read