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Somali drug dealers fund jihad, 7 arrested

May 10, 2012

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the khat trade enriching Islamists in Somalia.  And it’s the third case in the last two months of Somali immigrants in England funneling money for terror back to the home country (see here and here).

This should not be read as a “drug crime” story; this is about a group of Muslim desperados engaged in activities to fund jihad.  If they could fund jihad by smuggling cigarettes, they’d do that.  If they could fund jihad by robbing banks, they’d do that.  If they could fund jihad by hawala transfers from the Somali diaspora back to Somalia, they would do that.  Drugs just so happen to be a profitable vessel—but the common link is jihad.

From the National Post on May 1:

Narco-trafficking cash benefits Somali jihadists

Khat seized at Edmonton International Airport on March 7, 2012.

British police arrest seven for exporting khat to Canada, U.S. to finance terrorism

British counter-terrorism police arrested seven people Tuesday on charges they were part of a network that had been exporting khat to Canada and the U.S. to fundraise for terrorism.

Police raided four homes in London, Cardiff and Coventry at 6 a.m. as part of what Scotland Yard described as “a pre-planned, intelligence-led operation into suspected fundraising for terrorism overseas.”

Khat is illegal in Canada but remains popular among émigrés from East African nations such as Somalia, where chewing the leafy stimulant is a ritual for some, although conservative Muslims forbid it.

Much of the khat smuggled to Canada comes from Africa via London, where it is not considered a narcotic. The arrests suggest that at least some khat users in Canada may be unwittingly bankrolling terrorists.

British media reports linked the arrests of the six men and one woman to Al Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group that has been fighting to impose its intolerant version of Islamic law on Somalis.

Police said they were searching seven homes and a business. “The searches are ongoing and there have been no arrests at these premises and inquiries continue,” the Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement, adding the operation was led by the Counter Terrorism Command.

More than 19,000 kilograms of khat was seized in Canada in 2009, according to the RCMP’s latest annual drug report. Khat now accounts for more drug seizures by weight than any other narcotic except marijuana.

The Canada Border Services Agency seized 50 kilograms of khat at Edmonton International Airport in March. It was found in the checked baggage of two British nationals. Sixty kilograms was seized at Calgary International Airport in February, also on a flight from the U.K., and on Jan. 19 another 30 kilograms was seized at Calgary airport.

A 2006 report by Canada’s Integrated Threat Assessment Centre said “some part of the proceeds involved in the global khat trade possibly finances terrorism.” The primary sources of khat include Yemen, Ethiopia and Kenya, which the report said had “experienced significant terrorist activity.”

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