Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Khat and the Caliphate
By Bashir Goth
Somaliland Times
"A word of truth used with an ill intention" is a maxim attributed to Imam Ali, the fourth Caliph of Islam. This was the first thing that came to mind when I read about the Mogadishu Islamists' decision to ban Khat, the narcotic stimulant, that millions of Somalis use as a pastime and for generating income to feed millions of children in a country where more than 43 percent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day.

Yes, Khat is a curse on the economy, health and family fabric of the Somali people. It props the economies of Somalia's neighboring countries; with Kenyaexporting $250 millions worth of Khat to Somalia annually and Ethiopia earning $60 million a year from Somaliland alone. Most of this money is the remittances sent by overseas Somalis to feed their loved ones back home. In addition to its financial burden, the Khat causes numerous health problems; causes family break ups, wastes people's time and energy and increases the ranks of the country's unemployed as addiction forces millions of productive countryside people to quit their farms and livestock to khat markets, towns and villages. MORE, Qarannews,Wardheernews,Radiosanaag,

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