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A DRUGS den in Kentish Town where Somali men get high on the hallucinogenic plant khat is to be shut down.
The shop in Kentish Town Road is known as the House of Rachel and is used by the Somali community as a meeting place.
It stays open until the early hours of the morning and after a number of complaints about noise and people spilling out onto the street, Camden Council has issued an enforcement notice to shut it down.
Mr Mohamoud Nur, of the Kentish Town Somali Welfare Association, in Ashdown Crescent, is backing the closure.
He said: "It's run by Eritreans but Somalis use it. It's a bad place in terms of health and community.
"It destroys families as the men stay there for hours and hours and don't talk to their families.
"There are 120,000 Somalis living in London and there's no youth or social clubs but even if they got that, these groups that consume khat would not be involved."
Khat is a narcotic chewed by Ethiopians, Eritreans, Yemenis and Somalis and has a similar effect to amphetamines.
The drug causes users to talk and laugh excessively but can also cause increased blood pressure and breathing rates.
Britain is the only country in Europe where khat is legal and London has become the centre for distribution of khat in Europe.
Mr Nur added: "There are some community leaders who say people will turn to harder drugs or alcohol if khat is banned but there's no evidence of that.
"They will be trying to justify it for their own interests."
Riaz Ahamad, 35, who works in his uncle's newsagent's near the Kentish Town Road meeting place, said: "They sit down there and eat khat and they go mad.
"They drink a lot of vodka. They know us so we don't have any problems. They fight among themselves."
A khat den in Camden Street was closed down late last year.
And in May, Somali Abdiaziz Warsame, 31, was jailed for life after murdering fellow countryman Hassan Abdullahi.
The 33-year-old was sitting in another Kentish Town meeting house chewing khat when he was stabbed in the back.
In addition to taking tough action on khat dens, Camden Council has hired its first Somali street warden.
Abdi Abyan, 29, has been a warden for six weeks. He is based in Arlington Road and Inverness Street, a renowned hangout for Somali youth, has been added to his beat.
He said: "A friend who works as a street warden said they have a lot of Somalis who give them problems and if I came I would make a difference.
"For the youngsters, more sport facilities would be good. We have to engage with them, inspire them and tell them there's an alternative.
"We need to tell them that if they continue on the road to self-destruction there will be consequences.
"But one of the good things we are getting back is that they all know what they are doing is wrong."