Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|What is happening to Saudi society??|
|12/25/01 at 23:57:25|
|What is happening to Saudi society?|
By Raid Qusti, Arab News Staff
Two unimaginable incidents shook Saudi society during this Eid. For those
who may be unaware of them or may have been abroad, let me explain what
happened. The first occurred on the second day of Eid Al-Fitr. According
to the Arabic daily, Al-Watan, some 1,000 young men gathered near
Al-Nawras roundabout on Jeddahs Corniche. They were harassing women in
cars; they hit the cars and smashed the windows and even prevented other
cars from passing through the area. Their rage and violence seemed
unstoppable as they had gone so far as to smash the rear window of a
police patrol car. The police called for back up as they found it
impossible to control so large a group. The back up arrived and as they
did so, the young men fled. Some people were injured as the police forces
dispersed the large crowds. After the chaos was over, about 6:00 in the
morning, Maj. Gen. Saeed Al-Qahtani, director of police in the Makkah
region which includes both Makkah and Jeddah arrived on the scene. He
told the press that what happened was "an unusual event that happens
rarely and that such things are to be expected when large numbers of young
people gather." He also blamed the families for what had happened and said
that they should have not been there at that hour of the morning in the
first place! He denied there were any injuries.
The second incident happened in Dammam. And again our source is Al-Watan.
During the Eid, a group of 15 young men cornered a limousine with 3 girls
in it. They beat the driver and dragged the girls out of the car. Had it
not been for skme people who heard the girls crying for help, God knows
how it might have ended!
These are two big stories that do not include all the little ones: young
men throwing firecrackers at people and at police cars; young men wearing
abayas and dancing in the street as if they were girls; young men entering
family sections of restaurants and frightening those who were there. And
to top it all off, a group of young men stopped a car driven by an
expatriate who was with his wife. They dragged his wife out and when he
tried to help her, they beat the living day lights out of him!
My first impulse after reading the reports was an outburst, "What the hell
is going on in Saudi society?!"
What added more fuel to the flames of my outburst was the response of the
general who is the highest police official in the region. I found his
statements to the press utterly ridiculous! Instead of saying that the
young men who caused these problems will be hunted down and punished, he
blamed the families who were at the location instead. Well, excuse me,
sir! Arent the police supposed to protect the public and uphold the law?
Or is their job limited to issuing tickets to drivers who dont wear
seatbealts or chatting as they cruise the city in their new Luminas?
As for the Corniche, we Saudis who know our way of life will tell you that
families going out until 4 a.m. in Jeddah during Ramadan and Eid is
perfectly normal. It has been happening for years. And it has been
happening without incidents. As for the generals remark that the smashing
of car windows was only a fluke, Im sorry sir, but you are dead wrong.
Never in the past has Saudi society witnessed such an outburst of violence
from young men in a public place.
Some Saudis in Riyadh were so upset by what happened that they began
distributing in a mosque copies of a newspaper article,written by a Saudi,
which called for an end to public events and celebrations in Eid because
of the problems. Arab News has seen a copy of this article.
This is the second year in a row that young men have been the cause of
trouble during Eid. Have authorities and officials done anything about it
since last year? Were measures taken this year to prevent such things from
happening again? No. Not a thing was done.
And the result? This year it happened again but on a much bigger scale.
If a committee had been formed last year to investigate the problems and
look at the reasons why they happened, perhaps this years problems might
not have happened. If our smiling well-qualified sociologists had offered
to study the behavior of these young men and try to discover the cause and
effect instead of doing nothing for society but teaching textbooks which
they have long ago memorized they might have kept these incidents from
happening. If our thinkers took the time to think about and talk about the
reasons for these incidents, instead of always concentrating on insoluble
incidents, things might not have happened as they did. So many "ifs" and
so few solutions and ideas!
As a young Saudi myself, I wondered. What has got into our young people?
Can this be the behavior of Muslim young people who have studied six
Islamic textbooks from elementary through secondary school? Instead of
getting emotional, I calmed myself down and tried to look at things from
Surely there is a reason for everything. And there must be a really good
one why nearly a thousand young men were in a public place harassing women
and smashing car windows. I am not a sociologist; neither am I a scholar
or a thinker. What I am, however, is a very concerned citizen of this
country. And I know our society and our people and I have failed to come
up with any reason why our young people might behave in such a terrible
fashion. What would have led me to harass women in public? What would have
led me to smash car windows and frighten families?
After a few hours of "perhaps" and "maybe", I was able to come up with
three major reasons for the shocking and unacceptable behavior.
1 Bad upbringing: There was once a time when we Saudis feared God and
understood that we would be held accountable by God on the Day of Judgment
for our childrens upbringing after all, they are our responsibility. Now
it seems, maids are bringing up our children. How much respect do they
receive? Fathers used to set an example to their children and mothers used
to be a source of inspiration. And now? Well, life has changed and the
economic situation is tighter than before so the father is too bogged down
making a living and earning money. As for the mother, if shes not working
as well, shes too busy on the phone or at a friends or going out to a
2 Repression: Any youth has hormones. Too much leisure time and having
nothing to do can get them flowing at breakneck speed. In the past our
grandfathers married when they were young. They also insisted that our
fathers marry at an early age. Most Saudis then married at 18. Early
marriages did have their merits. They taught young people how to accept
responsibility and weigh up lifes demands and at the same time fulfill
their sexual instinct in a moral and Islamic way. Would a person with a
wife and children shamelessly harass other women in public, drag them out
of cars and cause all kinds of chaos? I dont think so. Our religious
scholars continue to ask families not to demand high dowries and expensive
nonessentials and hence create a better society for the future.
3 Lack of discipline: Its obvious the young men had no respect for the
law. Perhaps some of that is due to their parents who failed to teach
their children respect for authority. But we must say that when the law is
applied to everyone including ministers, heads of departments and VIPs
then perhaps we Saudis will respect the law. Would a police officer dare
to give a ticket to any of the above for running a red light? Impossible!
Perhaps if our bloody wastas pulling strings did not get a guilty person
out of trouble when he should be punished, then the law would be respected
from our citizens. But we all know, the wasta will allow the guilty to go
unpunished. What message does that send to young people?
Sundays papers tell us that 300 young were rounded up and are now being
interrogated. Once the interrogation is over, their case will be
transferred to the Governorate of Makkah. I am confident that the governor
will give these reckless young people the punishment they deserve. But I
do hope and pray that just as society waits to see them punished for what
they did, the authorities will look into the reasons so that these kinds
of incidents will not happen again. God knows, the last thing our society
needs is for them to become a phenomenon.
Individual posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Jannah.org, Islam, or all Muslims. All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the poster and may not be used without consent of the author.The rest © Jannah.Org