Police keeping eye on Ottawa mosques after New Zealand attacks


Expect to see more Ottawa police officers around the city’s mosques after the deadly attacks in New Zealand. 


Ottawa police say they’re following a protocol to try to help people in the community feel safe and supported.

“We have no intelligence to suggest that any group in Ottawa is allied with the suspects in New Zealand, but the possibility of a copycat lone actor is always a concern,” wrote police Chief Charles Bordeleau in a letter to the community.

“Police presence alone has been shown to have a definitive effect on discouraging lone actor attackers.”

Ottawa police have also reached out to Muslims to see how they can help.

Across the river in Gatineau, Que., police said they’re sending more officers to their two mosques around prayer times.

Outside Gatineau’s centre islamique de l’OutaouaisAhmedSouissi said he can’t understand why this happened.

“Some people think Muslims are enemies of other nations or religions. It’s not true. It’s better to make an effort to understand [each other,]” he said.

Ahmed Souissi regularly visits the mosque at the centre islamique de l’Outaouais in Gatineau. (CBC)

Amira Elghawaby, a human rights advocate in Ottawa and a board member of the Candian Anti-Hate Network, woke up to the news this morning and said she was in “absolute shock.”

“My hands were shaking. My stomach was aching. It was really, really difficult to read,” said Elghawaby.

The situation still feels raw, she said.

“It wasn’t so long ago that we were marking the second anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting,” said Elghawaby.

“Being a visible Muslim … It just feels so near, even though it’s so far away.”