Photo:  Amira Elghawaby, National Council of Canadian Muslims

By: Emma Jackson Metro, Tuesday, July 26 2016

Politicians, community groups and advocates have been weighing in on the death of Abdrirahman Abdi, who was arrested by Ottawa Police on July 24. While the SIU investigates, here’s what some people had to say.

National Council of Canadian Muslims: Council spokesperson Amira Elghawaby said “trust has been shaken” among Ottawa’s Muslim community. “There is an immediate fear of the police in such a situation where a man has now passed away,” Elghawaby said.

But the council is also heartened by Ottawa Police’s “robust community engagement” strategy, which it vowed to strengthen in the wake of the fatal arrest.

“We’ve heard the right messaging, at least, from the police service,” Elghawaby said.

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper: “People can’t believe that this has happened in Ottawa,” said Leiper, who represents the Hintonburg neighbourhood where the arrest took place, on Tuesday.

“Like every Hintonburger, I’m feeling this loss. People are personally grieving this, they feel as though a valuable community member has been lost,” he said.

While he said he has questions like everyone else, he cautioned residents not to jump to conclusions before the SIU has had a chance to fully investigate.

Ottawa-Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi: “This is a sorrow that no family should ever have to experience,” Naqvi said in a statement, which expressed condolences for Abdi’s family, neighbours and the Ottawa-Somali community. “I know from my experience working with community groups and local law enforcement that we all want our community to be safe and welcoming for everyone. This is what unites us and we are stronger when we continue to support one another.”

Leslie Emory, director of immigrant support agency OCISO, which served Abdi as a client, called for unity while the community waits for answers.

“What I really would like to see happening moving forward is that we all kind of come together, try to understand what happened, get transparency, get complete answers and then move forward together,” Emory said. “And if things need to change, we work together to change those.”

BlakCollectiv: Ottawa advocacy group BlakCollectiv said it continues to monitor the situation and will take action once it knows what the family and community needs.

Still, it offered strong words in support of marginalized communities.

“Police brutality is very real worldwide, and Black people in Canada have been witness to it,” the statement said. “Often times, targets are the most marginalized among us, and we ask everyone who has a voice within our society to not erase any part of Abdi’s identity in their discussions.”