NCCM comments on death of Somali-Canadian man following police confrontation in Ottawa

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – July 26, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, says a thorough investigation is required into the alleged beating and subsequent death of an Ottawa-area Somali-Canadian man following an altercation with police.

Local police were responding to complaints involving the man at a coffee shop in Ottawa’s downtown. Abdirahman Abdi, a 37-year-old resident who suffered from mental illness, was chased to his apartment building where he was allegedly pepper sprayed and beaten with batons. Part of the incident was captured on video by witnesses.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), an independent civilian oversight body, has launched an investigation.

« This is a heartbreaking loss and our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Abdi’s family at this difficult time, » says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee. « 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.

« It is critical that a full and transparent investigation be swiftly conducted so that Mr. Abdi’s family, and the wider community, get clear answers.

« 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. We welcome the Ottawa Police Service’s pledge to engage the neighbourhood’s community members following this tragedy. Trust will need to be restored, » says Gardee.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit grassroots advocacy organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.