Khat Jihad. “Somali drug may fund terrorism: 14 Tonnes Seized,” by Stewart Bell in the National Post (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
Terrorist groups may be funding their activities through khat, an illegal stimulant smuggled daily into Canada, says a newly released intelligence report.
The report by the Canadian government’s Integrated Threat Assessment Centre says “some part of the proceeds involved in the global khat trade possibly finances terrorism.”
Khat is an illicit drug that is wildly popular among Somali-Canadians. It originates in East Africa and the Middle East, regions that “are ‘of concern’ from a terrorism viewpoint,” the report says.
“Given that a number of terrorist organizations around the world finance their activities through the drug trade, and that much of the khat trade occurs in and emanates from a region of the world closely identified with terrorism, it is possible that some parts of the proceeds involved may end up in the hands of terrorists or their sympathizers.”
A declassified version of the Dec. 8, 2006, intelligence assessment, titled Khat: Connections to Terrorism? was obtained by the National Post under the Access to Information Act.
Formally called Catha edulis, khat is a leafy shrub that grows only in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Chewing khat is a daily ritual among men in Somalia.
As home to one of the world’s largest Somali communities, Canada has experienced a steady rise in the use of khat. Although illegal, khat is still widely available on the black market in places like Etobicoke, home to Toronto’s Little Mogadishu neighbourhood, where it is sold out of backrooms in restaurants and shops.
The RCMP’s annual drug report, released yesterday, said 14 tonnes of khat were seized in Canada last year, two-thirds of it at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The drugs were destined for the Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa regions, “where larger concentrations of Somali communities are found,” the RCMP report said.
The seizures were valued at $7-million.