The Sand Is Always Cleaner on the Other Side of the Pond
It is easy for Muslims in the West to cast their eyes longingly to the so-called Muslim countries of the East. Places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan hold such historical and cultural significance for Muslims, that it is only natural to afford these places a certain amount of respect and reverence as centers of Muslim strength and stability. The unfortunate truth about the world in which live however, is that Muslim countries are plagued by the very same problems that continue to erode modern Western society.
Take for instance Monday's near tragic incident in which a student entered his school with a weapon drawn. With so many children in America resorting to extreme violence to vent whatever frustrations and psychological hang-ups they might have, the prospect of another school shooting has become almost passe. But the difference about Monday's incident is that it did not take place in some sleepy town in Middle America. Nor did it take place at some run-down, under-funded, inner city, American school. No, this took place in a town called Zilfi, which lies approximately 120 miles northwest of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia? There are gun-toting, misguided, mentally disturbed children in Saudi Arabia? Is this the same Saudi Arabia that is home to Islam's two holiest mosques? Is this the same Saudi Arabia that is known for its impressively low incidence of violent crime? Surely not this Saudi Arabia?
But as sad and unfortunate as it may sound, Saudi Arabia was indeed the location Monday of a school incident disturbingly similar in nature to the recent spate of atrocities throughout the United States. According to Agence France Presse, a young boy walked into his school bloodied about the head, reeking of alcohol with firearm in hand. That's some scary stuff.
And to make matters worse, according to the same report, a 14 year-old boy saw fit to spray his schoolmates with automatic gunfire just a week before.
So how does this sort of thing, previously largely a Western phenomenon, work its way so quickly into the very heart of a Muslim nation? Well, for one, Muslim countries have been infiltrated for several years by that all-telling seer of seers, the satellite dish. From the comfort of home, many Muslims can peer through a direct window to the Western world. And with CNN running the "Crisis at Columbine" day night for the duration of the incident's fallout, it's no wonder that a few kids on the other side of the planet with twisted perception and access to weaponry, might take our their frustrations in a similar manner.
But what is more disturbing is that the proclivity for such behavior exists in Saudi Arabia at all. One might think that with all the outward attention to faith and religion in the country, that Saudis might not have such abhorrent behavioral streaks in them. But as anyone who's lived there can testify, Saudi Arabia has its fair share of home grown vice, social discontent and general societal decay.
That school children are wielding weaponry in the classroom is but a wake-up call, or more accurately, a blaring alarm. For no longer can Muslims play the role of finger-pointer, thinking of such impacting issues as "someone else's problem." If a school shooting can happen south of Riyadh; if students there can drink themselves bleary-eyed; then Muslims have a whole lot more to worry about than previously anticipated.
Topics: Muslim World, Saudi Arabia