The story of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) begins in 1982 when a group of dynamic and devoted Muslim women from across the country congregated in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Led by the late founder of CCMW, Dr. Lila Fahlman, these women sought to mobilize their passion for social justice and faith in order to enrich their communities and work towards the common good of Canadian society.
This inaugural meeting led to the establishment of CCMW, a not-for-profit organization that works to provide equity, equality and empowerment for all Canadian Muslim women. For the past 30 years, its proud and accomplished roster of members have achieved and continue to achieve great milestones for Muslim women and Canada’s multicultural landscape. As a highly diverse organization, CCMW is firmly committed to the overarching vision of improving the status of Muslim women to remain true to their Islamic heritage and Canadian identity.
Dr. Lila Fahlman (C.M, PhD)
“I believe in what I am doing, and I believe it should be done”
A descendant of one of the earliest Muslim families to arrive in Canada, the late Dr. Fahlman was born in 1924 in Limerick, Saskatchewan. Her diverse upbringing served as a guiding force for the creation of CCMW. Lila was born to a Lebanese father and an English-American mother. As a socially engaged Muslim in the Prairies, Lila was heavily involved in her local community including being an active member of the Girl Guides of Canada and serving as the Guard of Honour for the 1939 Royal Visit of Queen Elizabeth.
In 1982, Lila became the first woman in Canada to obtain her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Alberta. In 2001, she further made her mark on history by becoming the first Muslim woman to be awarded the Order of Canada for her service to the Muslim community, violence against women and inter-faith dialogue.
In 2006, Lila passed away, but not without leaving her mark on Canadian history and setting the course for the future generations of Canadian Muslim women that would follow her. A celebrated author, educator, publisher, activist and Muslimah; CCMW continues to honour her memory each year through its work. This inspired by her creative vision and the Lila Fahlman Scholarship provided to Canadian Muslim women each year at the annual fundraiser Women Who Inspire.