The Somali community, along with police and government officials, gathered Saturday night in Edmonton to discuss a growing problem — gang violence in their community.
Two young men killed Tuesday were identified as belonging to the Somali community, bringing the total of Somalis killed violently in Edmonton in 2008 to five.
Edmonton police Chief Mike Boyd and Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenny both attended the meeting at Killarney Community Hall, organized by the international non-profit organization Youth For Change in order to stop the violence and discourage young men from joining gangs.
Ahmed Hussen, the national president of the Canadian Somali Congress, said he was encouraged by the turnout of officials.
"Maybe a silver lining is going to come out of this crisis where people will start to say: 'You know, the old insular way of doing things and focusing on back home won't work. What we need to do is reach out, work with others and build a comprehensive Canadian solution to a Canadian problem. These kids are Canadians,' " Hussen said.
Zarah Farah, a member of the local Somali community, said she wants to keep her two brothers out of gangs.
"We came to this country from Somalia because of the fighting and the war just like everybody else who emigrated here," Farah said. "Now we're here and there's more fighting, more violence."
Boyd said his force is investigating the deaths and will work with the community to help put an end to the violence.