Shahina Siddiqui, LL.D.
Shahina Siddiqui moved from Pakistan to Winnipeg in 1976, shortly after first visiting the city as a tourist. She and her husband fell in love with Winnipeg and decided to raise a family here. Soon after settling in Winnipeg, a woeful inadequacy in the community revealed itself to them. Their eldest son was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, and when he died, Siddiqui realized how little support Muslim-Canadians going through her experiences had, even regarding basic needs like funeral planning. She vowed to herself that no other family would go through what she did.
Siddiqui helped establish the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA), and she was the inaugural volunteer executive director of both the United States and Canadian chapters. In 2003, the chapters split and Siddiqui became president of ISSA Canada, which provides family, health and social welfare services. She continues to serve ISSA-Canada as its volunteer executive director. Siddiqui sits on the National Advisory Board for the Canadian Association for Muslims with Disabilities and the National Council of Canadian Muslims. She founded the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute and co-founded the Canadian Muslim Leadership Institute and the Federation of Canadian Muslim Social Services.
She has received many local and national recognitions for her work and social justice activism which include: the YMCA/YWCA (Winnipeg) Peace Medal 2002 for her work in fostering understanding between Muslims and other religious and cultural groups in Winnipeg since the 9/11 attacks. In 2012, she was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canada. In 2016, she was awarded with the Canadian Red Cross -Humanitarian of the Year; in 2017, the RCMP Commanding Officer’s Appreciation of her dedication and expertise in recognition of her expertise, dedication and professionalism in support of the RCMP and various community and cultural diversity programs; in 2019, the Honourary Doctorate of Laws - University of Manitoba; in 2016/ 2019, she was named as one of 100 “what is special about Manitoba” in the Winnipeg Free Press; in 2019 she was featured in the Manitoba Museum Wall of Immigrants who have enriched Manitoba; in 2020, ISSA-U.S.A.in appreciation for generously giving in uplifting mental health and social Services in North American Muslim community.
Saddiqui has been profiled in numerous magazines, newspapers and books, telling the stories of her life and her dedication as a thoughtful and well-spoken advocate for human rights and social justice in Canada. She is a sought-out commentator for radio and television in Manitoba and in Canada on issues regarding cultural diversity and promoting understanding between Muslims and other religious and cultural groups. She is a spiritual counselor, free-lance writer, author, speaker, educator and social justice and human rights activist.