Vancouver-born actor Aliza Vellani, of “Little Mosque on the Prairie” fame, will emcee the Voices of Muslim Women awards gala in Surrey with Ayesha S. Chaudhry, a UBC prof. (photo: imdb.com)

Surrey gala will celebrate ‘Muslim feminine excellence’

April 22 event at Bell theatre hosted by year-old Voices of Muslim Women organization

Muslim women, this is your night to shine.

An inaugural awards night organized to “recognize and celebrate Muslim feminine excellence” will be held at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre on Sunday, April 22.

The gala event is hosted by Voices of Muslim Women, a B.C.-focused non-profit founded in 2017 after “an eclectic and diverse group of Muslim women came together to share their passion for the arts, social justice, education, and community,” according to a post on the group’s website.

“The event formed out of a Voices of Muslim Women film festival I held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Surrey campus) last year,” Aisha Amijee, the organization’s executive director, told the Now-Leader.

“The success was huge and the community wanted more,” she added, “so we launched Metro Vancouver’s first ever red-carpet gala to celebrate Muslim women, and we’re hosting it at the Bell Centre in Surrey.”

To date, close to 500 tickets have been sold for the event, according to Amijee.

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Awards will be given in eight categories, with two or three nominees in each category.

“The shortlisted candidates range from Olympians in the Athletics category to a university student activist who came to Canada from a refugee camp in Kenya,” Amijee noted.

The event will include a screening of short films produced by Muslim girls and women and live entertainment. The emcees will be Dr. Ayesha S. Chaudhry, Canada Research Chair in religion, law and social justice at UBC, and Vancouver-born actor Aliza Vellani, of Little Mosque on the Prairie fame.

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Amijee said the annual awards gala will become VMW’s signature event, “open to all and aimed at bringing together the various Lower Mainland communities for a glittering night of support, celebration, and connection.”

The award categories are Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, Athletic Excellence, Cultural & Entertainment, Young Women of Distinction, Allies of Muslim Women, Social Justice and Education, Champion of Women and Lifetime Achievement.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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