As we move into October, Canada marks Women’s History Month as well as Canadian Islamic History Month, for which the theme in 2023 is “Celebrating Muslim women in the Arts and Sciences”. It is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions that Muslim women have made in our Province, including Dr. Lila Fahlman and Soraya Hafez, who both have schools in their name in Edmonton.
Dr. Lila Fahlman opened doors for generations of Muslim women through her work as founder of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, as the first Muslim woman in Canada to be elected to a public school board, and as the first in North America to serve as a university chaplain. Soraya Hafez made tremendous impact during her time as the President of Edmonton’s Canadian Council for Muslim Women, and she was a long-standing member of the Arab Jewish Women’s Peace Coalition. She was a respected teacher and community leader.
It is heartening to know that every day young, Muslim girls see a tangible reminder, a name etched into the very wall of their schools and histories, telling them that no goal should be out of reach. I hope that they will be inspired to lead the way forward, whether it is at the grassroots in their communities, in their professions, or in civil society initiatives focused on ensuring that the promise of this country can be felt equally by all.
As His Majesty the King’s representative in Alberta, I offer my heartfelt thanks to those who have shaped our history, and those who work to ensure that their legacies can continue to inspire generations of community leaders to come.
Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, AOE, B.Sc., LLD (hon), Lieutenant Governor of Alberta