Wafa Dabbagh (1962 – 2012)

Wafa Dabbagh
©Dennis J. Mah

Wafa Dabbagh was a distinguished officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Born in Egypt to Palestinian parents, she grew up in Kuwait and moved to Canada in 1990. Having already earned two degrees, Dabbagh simply wanted adventure and a job when she joined the military in 1996. Dabbagh chose the naval reserves, becoming the first Muslim woman wearing a hijab to enlist and serve. She served with honour and humility, setting a path for other Muslim women to follow. In 2010, Lieutenant-Commander Dabbagh received an Operational Service Medal, and in 2012, the Diamond Jubilee Medal. Her official memorial service later that year was the first in Canada to open and close with recitations from the Quran.

“I wanted an adventure and I wanted a job.”

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