Topic: Allegations "hurt"Somali Community

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Allegations 'hurt' Somali community By ROB KIDD - Waikato Times 4 September 2010

Somali leaders say their community is devastated by allegations members fund overseas terrorists and sell drugs at mosques.

About 100 people including Somali leaders from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington attended a meeting at the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre yesterday in protest at claims made in a recent TVNZ current affairs programme.

One of Hamilton's Somali leaders, Abdirizak Abdi, listed the allegations from the August 22 Sunday programme, which included the drug khat being sold at the mosque, family break-ups being caused by drug use and money being sent to Somalia to fund militant group al Shabaab, which is linked to al Qaeda.

He said the whole country's Somali community were "deeply hurt and devastated by the allegations".

Waikato Somali Friendship Society president Keyse Awad said the story was full of inaccuracies. He was hurt by the fact all the interviewees used in the television programme had their identities hidden.

"The informant, for whatever reason, made false, sweeping and serious accusations about the Somali community and the presenter did not challenge them," he said.

The man interviewed on Sunday said Somalis wanted "their own little government here in New Zealand" and they were "dreaming of Sharia law" (Islamic law).

Waikato Muslim Association president Ismail Gamadid denied that was the case.

"We want to make New Zealand a multicultural society where everyone can live together in harmony," he said.

Mr Awad estimated about 2 per cent of New Zealand Somalis used khat and police gave a presentation on the drug and stressed the number of domestic violence calls from Somali women was nearly non-existent.

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