Ottawa

Somali community remembers slain journalist as positive voice for her people

Members of Ottawa’s Somalia community are remembering Hodan Nalayeh as someone who wanted to tell a better story about their people. 

Hodan Nalayeh was killed last week in Somalia

Prominent Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband were killed in a terrorist attack last week. Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976 but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto. (Hodan Nalayeh/Facebook via Canadian Press)

Members of Ottawa's Somalia community are remembering Hodan Nalayeh as someone who wanted to tell a better story about their people. 

Nalayeh, a Somali-Canadian journalist, was killed last week in an attack in the coastal city of Kismayo in Somalia.

Ifrah Hassan, an Ottawa entrepreneur and community activist, remembered Nalayeh as a positive voice for a community that often only appears in the news in connection to stories about crime.

"We share the same passion, which is to spread the positivity of our nation, of our people, wherever we are in Canada," Hassan said.  

Ifrah Hassan, a local entrepreneur and community activist, said Hodan Nalayeh was an important voice for Ottawa's Somali community. (Caitlin Crockard/CBC)

Nalayeh told her stories through the Integration TV platform, a YouTube channel that focused on stories from the East African country. 

Hassan said she built a tremendous legacy, even though she'd only been at it for a relatively brief time.

"When you look at her career from television to social media it's like five years, but when you look at the impact it had, it was 20 or 30 years," she said.

Somalis around the world are mourning the death of one of their icons, Hodan Nalayeh. In this hour, reflections from two Ottawans who knew the Somali-Canadian journalist. 8:34
 

Positive viewpoint

Ottawa police Sgt. Mahamud Elmi, who's also director of the Somali Hope Foundation, was interviewed by Nalayeh during a school construction project. 

"There is that one person that comes forward and says this is possible and it can be done," he said. "Everything she dealt with she looked at from a positive view."

Elmi said he hopes people remember Nalayeh for that positive outlook. 

"All of us should be able to carry her smile and remember her and her work," he said