Knife Crime Craze among British-Somali teenagers
By M Haji
Hardly a month goes by before a mother in a corner of London, Birmingham, Manchester or in any one of the big cities of the UK receives the sad news of her son or a relative stabbed with a knife by another teenager in a backstreet of the town or a dungeon somewhere in an inner city. Just under 40,000 knife crime cases have been reported in the UK in the last 12 months. At least 11 Somali boys have been stabbed within the last 3 months with no sight of a reprieve. More than 5 Somali boys under 20 years succumbed to knife wound death in the month of March. This has been the lot of many mothers, mainly migrants from Somalia or other African countries in search of a better life. Mothers, many who are single mothers, divorced or widowed have borne the brunt of this day light brutality in the streets of the UK. Prisons are filled to the brim by what is alleged to be Somali teenage gang members and many sons of this forsaken mums are falling by the roadsides, victims of gun shots or knife crimes. This its reported has a lot to do with drug wars where the Somali boys are said to be reluctant purveyors of illegal drugs. On a vacation attending a Friday prayer in one of the local mosques, the theme was Knife Crime: Its causes and possible cures. The imam has dedicated a whole hour of the sermon to what is ailing the Somali boys in London suburbs. The boys have both been the villains and victims of what authorities in the UK have called the worst crime wave in decades and the police seem unable to unravel the causes or cure the problem. The Imam says the blame squarely lies on the shoulders of parents who are the first and most potent role models of their children. He said the parents have failed in their roles as models of modesty and good behavior, lying and cheating and indulging in moral and material corruption. Parenting skills have fallen by the wayside and immorality has become the lot of many parents whose kids have no option but to follow in their footsteps. The Imam decried the dearth of role models for the teenagers, mainly boys, who are finding companion and comradeship amongst gangs. The divorce decadence that is shooting over the roofs is one among the many reasons teenagers are going astray the Imam adds. The rate of divorce in the UK particularly in the Somali community is among the highest in the world, a strange phenomenon that is not only knew among this demography but unusual. He shares studies that mention the grim realities of children who grow up in broken families where 7 out of 10 teenagers get involved in crime and 9 out of 10 end up in prison. This is extremely shocking revelation of the correlation between growing in a broken family and teenage crime. Divorce in Islam is discouraged and always seen as only a solution and the very last resort to a very protracted and extremely difficult cases to resolve. The above is a clear testimony as to the reason why Islam almost prohibits divorce.
The Imam castigated the miniscule role mosques play in reigning teenage crimes negatively correlating the proliferation of mosques in the UK and rate of teenage crime. He decried the lack of concern by mosque authorities in the training of teenagers and accuses them of forsaking their role as training centers where good manners are learned. In the UK mosques numbers are growing exponentially and more than a 1000 churches have been turned into mosques over the last few years. This growth however does not reflect in the lives of most teenagers, reason the Imam decries the negative correlation. Unfortunately, many mosques are not what they were meant to be, learning centers of the Deen and training grounds for good manners. They are increasingly becoming commercial centers managed by people who are ill-trained to manage Islamic centers. People who are ill-educated to run a mosque are left to run the affairs of what otherwise used to be the central nerve of the Ummah’s affairs. This is where the rain began beating us. Cab drivers, businessmen and deal makers out to trade the Quran and sell the religion were left in-charge of the most important institutions of our Ummah. This is the weakest link in the involvement of our teenagers in crimes. Mosques were meant to be rehabilitation centers, where the wayward, the lost, the downtrodden and those going astray found solace not forgetting the centers of free learning of the Deen and intellectual discourse of the Ulama.
In the midst of the very unpleasant financial climate, the fans fanning the flames of divorce and family breakdowns are the new liberal and feministic, often misplaced bravado our womenfolk have acquired. Culture is not only the bond that binds societies but an important aspect of life that is dangerous when interpolated and can almost always never be collocated. Every culture has a set of behaviors that is positive and aids progress when learned or copied. During the Sahaba, the best of all human generations, the prophet asked the Arabs to leave the bad before Islam and keep the good that existed in their cultures before the advent of Islam. When the Somali immigrants arrived in the shores of the UK, colonial history, propaganda and misplaced perceptions informed their settlements into new communities. In the main, other than the general dismissal of the religions of those they settled into, they believed that the white man is not only richer but better in every way shape and form. They never in the figment of their imagination imagined that the white man, just like themselves, the refugees, comes in every shape; the bad, the mad, foul, the poor, the incapacitate and all. They therefore, particularly the young, swallowed the habits and cultures of the white man hook, line and sinker. One of this habits was the liberal tendency of free desires towards the opposite sex. The come-we-stay, the unmarried cohabitation and the freer perspective to easy divorces. All this was happening without so much as caution and the believe in the back of the minds of the black man that if the better human, the white man, is doing it why is it not ok for me to do it! In this craze was born the high rate of divorce because we lived in a society with liberal sexual permissiveness. The children born out of wedlock increased and the wife chasing and calling her husband at will became the norm. This is the second time the rains began beating us.
Now, as the boys continue falling under the crazed knives of the addict and the drug dealers our society is left dazed with worry and depression and waiting for answers from they-know-not who.
The first unequivocal solutions to better days is to see the light and go back to the true teachings of the religion. It is only by retracing our roots that solace can be found. By and large our pristine culture had a lot of say in how we lived our lives in peace and relative prosperity and chasing after a wild goose called the white man’s progress is just that. The high divorce rates, the teenage gang crimes and the proliferation of Prozac medications are but symptoms of a larger cause, the going astray of a society from the true path of salvation