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25
February
2013

Bridge building continues between police and community

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“Strengthening Relationships with the Muslim Community” is a series of sessions organized by several Muslim organizations in partnership with the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) and the Community Police Action Committee (COMPAC).

The first session took place on Thursday, January 24th 2013 at Masjid Assunnah. Chief of Police Charles Bordeleau summed up the purpose of the series as follows: “It's about us as police officers and members of the police service learning more about the Muslim community but it's also about the Muslim community knowing who we are as police officers and what we do, and what the police service is capable of doing to help you.”

City Councillor Eli El-Chantiry spoke about his role as the Chair of the Ottawa Police Service Board. He explained that “the board is a civilian body; it is made up of seven members, three from the municipality, three appointed by the province, and one member appointed by City Council. Our job is to oversee and work with the police and provide them with a budget and work together on policy.”

Dr. Aisha Sherazi, the Muslim Community representative for COMPAC -- a committee that serves as the bridge between the Ottawa Police and Aboriginal and visible minority communities -- spoke about the need to humanize the image of police officers.

“Sometimes when you come in contact with police officers in uniform, it is hard to remember that they are human beings, so a gathering like this helps us understand that police officers are just like us,” she said.{sidebar id=1}

Both Dr. Sherazi and Awad Loubani, Community Co-Chair of COMPAC, acknowledged that it may be difficult for members of the Muslim community who come from countries where there is widespread police corruption to be open to trusting the police, but they encouraged community members to reach out to the police present and to feel free to ask questions.

OPS officers gave presentations on topics such as how to apply to become a member of the police service, the activities of the OPS Diversity and Race Relations Section, and OPS Special Events, the section that maintains public safety during major events and demonstrations.

Staff Sergeant Isobel Granger gave a detailed presentation on the operations of the OPS Partner Assault Section. This section investigates cases involving domestic violence. In accompaniment to S/Sgt. Granger's presentation, Imam Ismail from Masjid Assunnah gave a presentation on how domestic violence is not justified in Islam and how Muslims are encouraged to act with respect and compassion towards their family members.

The questions that followed touched on all the topics discussed, particularly recruitment and domestic violence. Those present were also given the opportunity to ask questions anonymously in writing if they so wished.

Faizah Ghadban-Kandar attended the session and found the female police officers she met to be very friendly and approachable. She was also very receptive to the presentations given by both Imam Ismail and S/Sgt. Granger on domestic violence.

“I think it's good that law enforcers learn that in Islam abuse is not allowed as some would have you believe,” she said.

The Muslim organizations that organized this session included the Ottawa Muslim Association, Masjid Bilal, the South Nepean Muslim Community, Masjid Assunnah, the Muslim Association of Canada, and CAIR-CAN.

For more information about upcoming events in this series, contact the Ottawa Police Service's Diversity and Race Relations Section at 613 236 1222 ext. 5014 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chelby Marie Daigle is the administrator of the Community Police Action Committee (COMPAC).

This article was produced exclusively for Muslim Link and should not be copied without prior permission from the site. For permission, please write to info@muslimlink.ca.

Read 3314 times Last modified on Saturday, 19 April 2014 02:02
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Chelby Daigle

Chelby Marie Daigle is Muslim Link’s Editor in Chief and Coordinator. Under her direction, Muslim Link adopted its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy so that the website strives to reflect the complexity of Muslim communities in Canada. She knows that she fails to do justice to this complexity every day but she will continue to try to improve as she recognizes the frustration of being both marginalized in the mainstream and also marginalized in Muslim communities. As Coordinator, she works to build relationships with Muslim and mainstream organizations and manages the website's social media, event listings, and directories. She organizes regular Muslim Link gatherings. She also works closely with the Publisher to find ways to keep Muslim Link sustainable. Find her on Twitter @ChelbyDaigle