In the wake of the shooting at Tanger Outlets on Boxing Day 2014 in Kanata, Imam Sikander Hashmi reached out to Muslim Link for help in organizing an information session about gangs in Ottawa. For many in the Kanata Muslim Association (KMA), this event brought home the reality of gangs in Ottawa for the first time. It also disturbed them because both the perpetrator and the victim were from Muslim backgrounds. However, for Muslims in other parts of Ottawa, in particular Ottawa-West, Ottawa-East, and Ottawa-South, the presence of gangs, and the disproportionate number of young Muslim men involved in them, has been a serious concern for years.
In a joint effort by KMA and Muslim Link, the Stop It: Gangs, Guns, and Drugs Information Session took place on January 16th 2015. Staff Sergeant Andrew Buchan from the Ottawa Police Service's Youth Section and Sharmaarke Abdullahi from Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO) were invited to speak about their organization's efforts to address Ottawa's gang issue.
On November 4th, Mohamed Islam, 31, was awarded with Crime Prevention Ottawa's 2013 Youth Worker Award in a ceremony at City Hall. Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO) is an organization which aims to reduce crime and enhance community safety through collaborative evidence-based crime prevention strategies. Mohamed Islam is a Youth Worker with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa and is the coordinator of the Somali Youth Support Project, a program run out of the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre.