Halifax Muslims warned to be vigilant about safety
Muslim leaders release joint statement saying they condemn all terrorist attacks
The Muslim community in Halifax is reminding its members to be mindful of their safety in the wake of events in Quebec and Ottawa last week that saw two soldiers killed in two separate attacks.
Eight Muslim leaders released a joint statement on Tuesday condemning all terrorist attacks, in particular the shooting last week on Parliament Hill.
"On behalf of Canadian Muslims in Nova Scotia, our mosques in Halifax and its surroundings, we will address the Muslim community members to stand shoulder to shoulder with their Canadian colleagues and give assurances that we are united today more than ever and should not be intimidated or scared by the actions of a few criminals," said the statement.
"We also advise to our fellow Canadian Muslims to be vigilant for their safety."
The statement goes on to ask that efforts are strengthened to protect Muslim institutions from vandalism or attacks by others.
Adam Esse, the imam at the Nova Scotia Islamic Community Centre, said security is at the top of his mind these days. Cameras have been ordered for the Bedford property and until they're installed, he intends to make sure all the windows and doors are locked.
Esse said the recent radicalism has put all Muslims at risk, including "the Islamic institutions or the ladies who have veils that have covered themselves, or the youngsters who are going to Islamic school and have the Islamic uniform or the elderly."
He also warned his own members not to walk alone at night.
Police want Muslim officers, clergy
Halifax Regional Police say the message is one they have been monitoring closely.
"We need to keep the lines of communication open so if somebody feels that they've been wronged or they feel that something's not right, that they should be able to go to their police force and we're the ones that are sworn to serve and protect," said Const. Shaun Carvery.
Carvery met with Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais on Friday for a meeting to hear concerns from Muslim leaders.
Blais said he left the session with a couple of goals.
"One, I'd like to see a Muslim police officer, at least one, join our ranks within the next two to five years," he said.
"Two, that we'd like to be able to have a member of the Muslim clergy join our ranks as a chaplain."
Blais also acknowledged he personally needs to meet with the Muslim community more often, something Esse said he'd like to see as well.
"I'd love to see that, outreach for police to come to the Islamic institution, Islamic schools, Islamic centres and to give that kind of assurance," he said.
Local Muslim leaders say they'll continue the conversation on Sunday with a public meeting and open house at the Maritime Muslim Academy on Chebucto Road in Halifax. The details of the event have yet to be determined.