Petition demands probe into deaths of Somali-Canadians
Last UpdateCBC News
d: Thursday, May 13, 2010 | 12:24 PM MT
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Members of Alberta’s Somali community met in Calgary Wednesday to circulate a petition demanding the province set up a task force to tackle violent crimes against Somali-Canadian youth.
“There is stress in the community,” said Mahamad Accord of the Edmonton’s Somali Community Centre, who brought the petition to Calgary. “When there is stress in the community, it shows in the most vulnerable part of our community. Right now, it’s the youth.”
Accord said 23 Somali-Canadians have been killed in Alberta over the last five years, but suspects that number could be as high as 30.
“It makes [me] sad because they are the future of this nation as well as the Somali community,” said Mohamed Barray, who signed the petition.
The province announced $2 million in funding Tuesday to help prevent gang crime in immigrant families.
The money is going towards after-school programs and academic support, integrating immigrants and refugees into the community and keeping immigrant youth from drug trafficking and gang activity.
The projects are funded through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund.
Accord said the provincial money earmarked for the Somali community will help, but it does not properly address the underlying causes.
“We want to find out why the cases are not being [solved],” he said. “What are the underlying causes and how we can prevent it?”