Muslim group demands open probe into Ottawa man’s death

The National Council of Canadian Muslims says an investigation must look into whether racism played a role

Macleans Magazine | July 26, 2016

OTTAWA — A Canadian Muslim advocacy group is calling for a thorough and transparent investigation into the death of an Ottawa man who was involved in a confrontation with police.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims says an investigation must explore whether racism played a role in the death of 37-year-old Abdirahman Abdi, a Somali-Canadian.

Abdi had a confrontation with Ottawa police officers Sunday and was later rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, a family spokesman said.

The council’s executive director Ihsaan Gardee says a swift and open investigation must take place in order to ensure trust is rebuilt between police and the Muslim community.
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is probing Abdi’s death. The SIU investigates whenever there is a death, serious injury or allegation of sexual assault involving police in the province.

“Many members of the Ottawa Muslim and Somali communities have serious concerns about how this tragic incident unfolded, including whether prejudice had something to do with Mr. Abdi’s treatment,” Gardee said.

“The protection and preservation of human rights and dignity, regardless of skin colour, religious belief, or any other characteristic, are integral to our collective and individual sense of safety and inclusion.”

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