Cooper emphasizes healing and communication

Jason Kerr/Daily Herald Prince Albert Police Chief Troy Cooper speaks to attendees at the Prince Albert Masjid on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Troy Cooper began his remarks at the Prince Albert Masjid on Saturday with an apology.

The Prince Albert Police Chief was one of several community members invited to speak at the mosque, as community members came out to show solidarity with the city’s Muslim community.

Cooper took time to address a number of safety concerns during the event, but started by expressing sadness at the lack of communication between Muslim and non-Muslim residents.

“I’d like to begin today by offering an apology,” he said. “It shouldn’t have taken a tragedy to bring us together.”

For Cooper and others in attendance, Saturday’s event was a step in the right direction. Overall, Cooper said he’s optimistic that the community will pull together and embrace residents from different ethnic or religious backgrounds, however there are some worrying trends.

“Over the last year and a half or so, we’ve watched the international media and we’ve seen xenophobia and we’ve seen bigotry and racism in the national news,” he told attendees. “We could see the tension that must have placed on our Muslim community, and it should have been at that point that we reached out to you to tell you that you are a part of our community, and we care very deeply about you.”

For the rest of this story, please see the Feb. 8 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.