Huda Mukbil, CSIS's first Black Arab-Canadian Muslim spy, opens up about her fight against terrorism and discrimination
With sharp intuition, deep roots in several cultures and the ability to speak four languages, Huda Mukbil was an instant match for Canada’s spy agency.
However, it was not all love at first sight.
The nation's first Black Arab-Canadian Muslim spy joined the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) following her studies at Carleton University for law where she grew a passion for international security, she explains in her book "Agent of Change."
Despite her excitement to join the world of espionage, Mukbil who is of Ethiopian and Yemeni origin, was met with discrimination by her colleagues within CSIS in a time where homegrown extremism was on the rise.
"There were people within CSIS that felt that as a Muslim I didn't belong, that work of an intelligence officer and being a Muslim (was) antithetical," Mukbil told CTV News in an interview.
After filing a civil lawsuit against the CSIS for discrimination Mukbil was summoned for an even bigger mission with one of the world's most famous security services; the U.K.'s MI5.
In July 2005, four coordinated suicide bombings shook London and took the lives of 56 people. Mukbil was summoned to help the British authorities track down the perpetrators, which eventually led to the arrest of a Somali-born British citizen.
Now out of the shadows playing the roles of mother, writer, public speaker and political candidate, Mukbil continues to be a champion for change.
"You do need people with, you know, people like me in the organization, there's so much value, I save lives," she said. "There's no greater example of why diversity is really essential to this kind of work."