Somali Parents Fly Sons to Africa to Escape Deadly Knife Violence in Khan’s London

Somali internally displaced people (IDPs) receive food distribution in Mogadishu, Somalia, on May 22, 2018. - About 800 internally displaced people from 8 camps in Mogadishu receive Iftar dinner, the first meal after the daytime fast during the month of Ramadan, at food distribution centre annually installed during Ramadan by …
MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty
VIRGINIA HALE

Spiralling knife, drugs, and gang crime in London has been leading many concerned Somali parents to send their teenage offspring, who grew up in Britain, away to Africa for their own safety.

With 50 to 70 per cent of members of the Somali community in Islington, north London, “directly affected” by knife violence and ‘county lines’ drugs crime, mothers who arrived from the troubled African country during the 1990s told the Observer they felt they had “no choice” but to send their children away from an increasingly dangerous UK.

Sadia Ali, the treasurer of the Islington Somalia Forum and a mother of seven, said she sent her 15-year-old son away to live in the country she once fled as a result of the threat of local gang violence in London, telling the newspaper that many other families in the area have done likewise for their children’s safety.

“Hundreds of youngsters have been taken to Somalia, Somaliland and Kenya, some taken all the way to the rural areas. Parents feel they have no choice if they want their son to be safe,” she said.

Rakhia Ismail, Islington deputy mayor, added: “Sending them away has become the only way they can be safer. This issue of safety has been repeatedly raised by the community but nobody has listened. So many children have gone abroad. Two weeks ago, there was a stabbing and a child was taken back home two days later.”

Yusuf Sheikh Omar, a research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, lamented last week that “knife crime in British cities has brought many young Somalis into the criminal justice system and claimed several lives”.

Young Somali men in Western nations are growing up “alienated and at risk of violence”, warned Dr Omar in the Conversation, where he argued that the demographic was “particularly susceptible to criminality and Islamist extremism” as a result of issues such as “marginalisation, poverty, unemployment, racism, identity crises [and] Islamophobia”.

Illustrating how Somalia is an increasingly safe country for migrants to return to, Breitbart London reported on the government of Denmark refusing to rule out deporting illegal Somali immigrants back to their homeland in the Horn of Africa. The Danish government asserts it is now becoming safe enough for them to return.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen raised the issue after a meeting with his Somali counterpart in Egypt recently. In December, the country’s migration minister Inger Støjberg had urged individuals from Somalia whose “life and health are no longer at risk” in their homelands to “return home and [help] rebuild the country”.

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