The blood of Arab citizens has become cheap in the eyes of the Arab leaders, and the images of the Palestinians murdered at the hands of the criminal Israeli occupation forces fill the television screens, but we take no action. That’s why bloodshed across the Arab world is now the norm and holds no terrors for us. Blood has lost its sacred inviolability and became the quickest way to solve problems, especially among the youth. There is now a strange boldness about the use of weapons and killing people that has spread throughout Arab societies. It’s an unprecedented situation.
This thought crossed my mind as news filtered through about two horrific crimes in Egypt and Jordan that shocked us all. The first was the murder of Naira Ashraf, the beautiful Egyptian university student who was slaughtered by her colleague at the university gate, as if he were slaughtering a chicken, in front of passers-by who were too busy filming the incident on their mobile phones to stop him.
Then the beautiful Jordanian girl Iman Rashid, a student at Applied Sciences University, was shot dead by a stranger who ran away and shot himself. The reason for killing her died with him. However, we know that Naira’s killer loved his victim madly and that she rejected him and so did her family. He decided to take revenge and “preserve his dignity” by killing her.
These two heinous crimes were not the first in Arab society. In fact, the murder rate is rising, with young people the main victims and murderers. In Egypt a few months ago, a young man killed another in the middle of the day, in front of passers-by. He cut his head off and walked with it proudly among the people who looked on in astonishment.
These two crimes were not the last either. Less than a week later, a medical student was killed by a colleague of hers who deceived and then denied her.
In societies which pride themselves on their morality, values and religion, we need to seek the real reasons for such brutality by ordinary citizens if we are to challenge such behaviour. And we should challenge it. We cannot let blood be easy to shed in society.
We can start be admitting that religious faith is lacking in too many young people. This stems from the fact that all Arab governments are afraid of Islam, but they hide behind the term “Islamist extremism”, a description coined by the West to justify the war on Islam and Muslims per se. Hence, they are against religious youth and brand them as extremists and terrorists. We should not be surprised, because religious studies as a subject in school is now optional, with little impact on the hearts and minds of young people who pay little heed to the tenets of faith to guide their lives.
Moreover, religious institutions are now completely under government control. Senior appointees are subject to government orders. Mosques are no longer open outside of prayer times; there are no lessons, seminars or discussions taking place as happened in the past. Governments are not content with that, and have also banned religious centres for Qur’an memorisation and the teaching of a purely religious education that would improve morals and behaviour in society.
Media outlets are also controlled by Arab governments. They have reduced the number of religious programmes, which are now almost non-existent on television, despite the existence of more than a hundred satellite channels. Throughout the month of Ramadan, when we are supposed to grow closer to the Almighty, these channels deliberately destroy the spirituality of the month and make it the month of Satan. They fill their screens with dozens of obscene serials, with dancing, drugs, alcohol, prostitution and bullying, but not a single religious series of the kind seen in the past.
Art has been given an effective and yet irresponsible role in changing the values of Arab societies and changing their moral standards. The balance has been disturbed, making it easier for young people to turn to weapons to solve issues. Even well-educated university students turn into savages in this way.
What do we expect from young people, though, whose role model is now Mohammad Ramadan, the legend who walks the street bare-chested, wielding his sword, being honoured by army leaders and awarded an honorary degree by a university? We should not be surprised given that materialism has risen above religious and cultural values. Social media has a lot to answer for in this respect.
This is the generation that has grown up on immoral dramas, movies and songs, and the low-life “elites” of the semi-educated preside over the political, cultural and media scene despite their personal ignorance. Such “influencers” are a disaster for the Arab world and a prime reason for the empty minds and souls of our people.
I am almost certain that there is a systematic plan by Western intelligence to sabotage Arab societies at the hands of their own people since the establishment of MBC channels in the early nineties. After watching some of the programmes, I wrote in Egypt’s Al-Wafd newspaper that these channels will destroy Arab societies, with children’s programmes full of violence, inappropriate language, depravity, frivolity and empty minds. Add to this what is called “reality” TV, with immoral young men and women living together, and we can see why traditional Arab family values have been destroyed.
How do you destroy a society without war? This is what the Russian journalist Yuri Bezmenov explained. He was a secret agent in Russia’s KGB who defected to the West after resenting the intelligence agency’s suppression of intellectuals who violated Moscow’s policies. He fled first to the US and then to Canada and took the pseudonym Tomas David Schuman.
Bezmenov/Schuman proceeded to educate people about the conspiracies being plotted against them. The time of armies being used to subjugate states is no longer a priority, he said; victory is now achieved through defeating the state from within. He outlined a four-step process, beginning with a 15 to 20 year period to destroy the morals and values of the target society. Such efforts fail when attempts are made to restore religious values, because religion guides individual relationships within society and makes them relatively harmonious even in the most difficult times. Fifteen to 20 years is needed in order to guarantee that at least one generation is nurtured and educated on alternative values and morals. These alternatives replace the bedrock of society and distract people from their faith. This in turn removes any sense of responsibility and weakens loyalties. Media “personalities” and “celebrities” are used in this process.
Isn’t this precisely what is happening in our Arab societies? We even have the wars ruled out by Bezmenov/Schuman.
Arab leaders must be courageous and honest, and assume their responsibilities seriously before societies collapse completely. They must confront these destructive plans with radical countermeasures that aim to restore the values and morals of Arab societies to what they were before the internet age. There must be a strong political will and determination from everyone to reform society, in which clerics, families, schools, media and art institutions must participate actively. The value of good role models must be planted in the hearts and minds of young people by studying their Islamic history, which is rich in positive role models, outstanding heroism and great personalities who shone light in all of the world’s dark places with their knowledge, civilisation and culture. Many of them dragged Europe out of the so-called “Dark Ages”. Let us not forget that as Europe and the West pays us back by dragging us into the darkness of their past.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.