Why are British teenagers a menace to society?
Last week we saw the recent shooting of a 15 year old schoolboy in his home by two men. The shooting took place just a street away from where 10-year-old Damilola Taylor was stabbed to death in 2000. Neighbours said the father was attacked in his home at the weekend. But police said it was an "accident" and not connected to the shooting.
On Saturday night, a man of 21 was stabbed to death in the next street, a 40-year-old man was shot dead and another injured a mile away and James Smartt-Ford, 16, was shot dead at a Streatham ice rink.
We have heard and read about so many such cases over the last few years that we have become immune to them, unless the politicians get involved and the incidents are given the same coverage as the arrests of Muslims under anti-terror legislation.
A question is being asked by the media, politicians and society and that is, “Why are British teenagers shooting each other and inflicting violence upon innocent people? “.
In my opinion the point is being missed and it is wrong and unfair to make the colour of the perpetrators the main issue and focus for discussion. I recently saw a discussion on Hard talk and on News night which featured members of the Afro –Caribbean community and the discussion gave the impression that this problem exists only in the black community.
The problem of youth delinquency and violence exists within the white, Asian, Chinese, Turkish and every single community which resides in this country. The examples are too numerous to list, but a cursory glance of any newspaper from those communities will have scores of stories about their youth who have gone astray from the values of their parents generation.
So why then are youth in Britain engaged in crime and violence?
The answer lies in various sociological factors the root of which is the family. Many families nowadays are headed by a single mother, especially in the council estates and the children to do not have a father as head of the household to look up to. In fact many feel resentment towards their father, assuming of course they know who their father is and are in contact with him.
And many from an early age embark on the same type of irresponsible behaviour as their father by having children and not taking the responsibility that comes with it. Britain is ahead of Europe in terms of teenage pregnancies and single parent families.
So it becomes very natural for such youths to join a gang and feel a sense of belonging, camaraderie and family which they have been denied from an early age, and which we all as human beings need.
Also with globalisation there has been the closing of industries and many jobs re-located to third world and East European countries, which has led to high unemployment among the youth. Many hang around street corners with nothing to do.
The western popular culture is seen as the ideal to follow in the west and especially in developing countries whose middle classes cannot get enough of the films and music made in the west.
Most of those films contain scenes of gratuitous violence and irresponsible activities like sleeping around regardless of the consequences to oneself and society as a whole. It’s all about living life to the max in pursuit of hedonistic material pleasures and dealing with the consequences later.
The Government feeling the pinch in terms of financial loss due to days off from work, burden on the NHS has chosen to use powerful TV ads to scare the youth into being responsible. So recent ads show the harm of drinking excessively especially driving, types of sexual diseases one can catch and by using a condom you are safe.
Films which contain excessive swearing, sex and violence are popular with youth and films such as Scar face, although made before most of today’s youth were born still remain popular and iconic. Current films like, Kidulthood, Hustle & Flow and Bulletboy, provide a diet of violence, sex and drug use. With storylines which the youth can relate to such as crime, revenge, respect, gang brotherhood, contempt for authority, shooting etc.
It has been reported that a child before reaching the age of 10 has watched hundreds of murders, and thousands of scenes of violence and even more of swearing and irresponsible individualistic behaviour. Despite these films having ratings to prevent children from watching them they still manage to get hold of them.
I have deliberately left out the pornographic films which children view, some of them very violent and explicit reducing the woman to a piece of play dough to be pounded and abused. Incidents where 11 year olds have tried to rape younger girls and even 6 year olds molesting their class mates should be seen as the natural consequences of a diet of violent and sexual films.
The type of music which appeals to the youth are those of the rap and ragga genre which glorify killing, violence, sex and lack of respect for authority are always in the top 10 in any youths ipod or mp3 player.
Artists like 2Pac, whose death seems to have made him an even bigger icon with the youth since he practiced what he preached in his lyrics.
50 Cents, famous for his saying “Get rich or die trying, Eminem, known for abusing his own mother in his songs and Snoop Doggy Dog with his constant reference to women as bitches and hoes.
Not to be outdone and take advantage of the current trend for violence and sex we see computer games manufacturers producing games which involve killing, stealing and sex. Games such as the Grand Theft Auto series which is known for the themes of free-roaming violence, killing what u want, steal whatever takes your fancy, steal any car u want, stomp on old ladies, rob department stores and banks etc.
These games carry strong age restrictions and are not as lenient as films in theory. But walk into any playground at any school and say the words GTA and u will realise how popular they are with most of the kids having played them and even completed them.
TV shows like Blind date and You’ve been framed achieve high ratings and millions of viewers especially from the youth and have become household programmes for many generations of Youth in this country.
I remember watching them and finding them funny although certain scenes used to make me cringe in embarrassment and pain. Many of my school and college friends would find it hilarious watching people being humiliated and in obvious pain, of course the laughter from the audience made it seem alright and acceptable.
The reason I mention these programmes is to show the hidden psychological effects of watching such programmes upon people’s minds and in particularly the vulnerable youth.
We become de-sensitised to other people’s pain and humiliation by laughing at them, when the natural reaction should be one of compassion and pity. So does it come as a surprise that when we see someone having an accident in real life such as dropping their dinner tray, falling on the floor and other such everyday accidents our first reaction is to laugh and even clap? Also many youths take it one step further and inflict pain upon others especially the weak and vulnerable in society.
So bullying and hooliganism on a Friday night or after a football match are now the norm with even women involved, so much for them being the fairer and weaker sex.
All children from an early age see the father or elder brother as being a role model to follow, assuming of course that the father is around and not done the proverbial runner. With Britain involved in colonial adventures in a bid to regain lost prestige from losing the British Empire in Iraq and Afghanistan, we see British servicemen and women involved in the ritual slaughter and murder of innocent civilians on a daily basis.
The children whose male relatives are practicing this type of savagery never think about the examples they are setting for youth back home in Blighty, who seek to emulate them by recording happy slapping videos to be passed around, the saying “ The apple didn’t fall far from the tree”, applies adequately here.
So what is the solution to youths fighting, attacking and killing each other on our streets?
Is it to have more armed police patrolling our streets?
Increase the number of CCTV cameras?
Longer prison sentences?
Or is their another solution from another ideology?
Having armed police does not work and leads to criminals obtaining more powerful weaponry than the police as can be seen on the streets of America , which has now become a mini Iraq and yet we don’t hear anything about having US soldiers on their streets to protect their citizens.
Already many would say that Britain has become a “ Big Brother “ state will individual civil liberties taken away and every aspect of ones privacy no longer being private. Has this reduced crime and in particular violent ones? The answer is no, with criminals being aware where the cameras are located, wearing masks and in some cases not giving a damn that they are being recorded for their 2 minutes of fame on crime watch.
Longer prison sentences has increased the number of prison inmates so that now there is no more room and ships and police stations are being used as prisons. Nowadays doing “time “, is seen as badge of honour and rite of passage, whereas before it was seen as a sign of shame.
Since it is now acknowledged by everyone in society that crime and specifically gun crime is now out of control, most of the people in society would like solutions regardless of where they come from.
This is a golden opportunity for us as Muslims who believe in the correct way of life which is acceptable to Allah and which contains more than just a few rituals like praying , fasting and hajj to present the Islamic solutions to gun crime and other ills which all societies based on the Secular creed are suffering from.
The Islamic system deals with problems from the root and does not advocate partial solutions which conceal and cover up the problem temporarily and avoid dealing with it.
Under the Caliphate the teaching of good morals and societal responsibility will start in the home in the normal family unit e.g. mother and father as opposed to single mother only or a homosexual couple and their adopted children.
The community and society would not be afraid to reprimand verbally other people’s children for misbehaving in society unlike today where people are told to “ mind their own business “.
The education system from an early age would foster an atmosphere of mutual respect for each other and specially elders and their properties.
The popular culture in the society would be based upon collective responsibility and community and not individualism.
Of course there will always be people who wish to go against the pre-dominant public opinion and choose to act in a way detrimental to the interests of society and for these people the harsh punishment system of Islam will be applied.
In some cases these will be televised and witnessed live by society in order to deter others and have the desired effect. Islamic politicians will be discussing the reduction in crime as opposed to the increase in crime every month being reduced.