DUBAI: Tributes have been paid to the BBC journalist Hanna Yusuf, who shot to fame for publicly defending headscarf-wearing Muslims.
The BBC journalist's family broke the news of her death on October 1, saying they were “deeply saddened and heartbroken,” but gave no further information on her death.
“While we mourn her loss, we hope that Hanna’s legacy will serve as an inspiration and beacon to her fellow colleagues and to her community and her meaningful memory and the people she has touched for many years lives on,” her family said in a statement.
In 2015, she made a video for British national daily the Guardian defending the use of a headscarf, dispelling misconceptions of the hijab as a form of oppression.
In the video she said people should not assume that every woman who wears the hijab had been forced into it.
Andirachid Fidow, a Somalian activist who attended the Yusuf’s funeral in London, along with 6,000 others, tweeted: “Beautiful soul gone to soon, may her soul rest in peace.”
British Muslim journalist and author Hussein Kesvani said Yusuf was a “dear friend” to him, and posted a link to a fundraising campaign created following her death.
According to the Go Fund Me page, the money raised will be donated to a charity in Yusuf’s name, which will serve as her “Sadaqah Jariyah,” a form of ongoing charity usually given after a Muslim’s death.
UK-based non-profit organization Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks (Tell MAMA) also paid its tribute on Twitter, saying: “This is such a big loss.”
Muslim-focused blog Muslim Girl published a story remembering Yusuf’s work as an investigative journalist, including her stories on the violence in Somalia and her recent investigation into labor conditions at Costa Coffee stores in the UK.
The media industry was equally shocked by the news, and her colleagues quickly paid tribute to Yusuf, who worked her way up from a researcher to a television presenter.
The BBC’s Editorial Director Kamal Ahmed said: “Hanna Yusuf was sharp, witty and allowed us all to understand the important stuff a little better.”
The 27-year-old journalist was born in Somalia in 1992 and emigrated to Europe at a young age. Before her stint at the BBC, she wrote for other British publications including the Independent, the Times, and Muslim-focused news organization Muslim News.