Coping With Peer Pressure
By Br. Ibrahim Abu Khalid

What happens during the school years is very important. Many parents and community leaders brush-off unfavourable and unIslamic Muslim youth behaviour as being a short-term phenomena, a mix of hormones and bad friends. Time, it is argued, will mature their thoughts and bring them in line. This is rarely the case.

The school years form a critical part of the mental, religious and social development of our Muslim youth. Factors such as the school's curriculum, social pressures and make-up can solidly mould the direction the Muslim youth will take. By far the most dangerous influence is that of ' peer pressure ', whereby Muslims are pressured (mentally and physically) to conform to some social 'norm' or group behaviour. This can set an irreparable deviated path for the rest of their lives.

Pressures from the Education system

In a country which boasts of heralding individual and religious rights, Muslims are still on the lower rung of the ladder. Even the school administration will exert pressures on Muslims to study and participate in Islamically abhorred activities.

Compulsory participation in sports events brings many brothers and sisters into a state of conflict, who if refuse to participate, will be publicly rebuked and humiliated. Sisters have been known to be harassed to participate in swimming carnivals, gymnastics and dancing, many of which can involve male participation. Not attending formals, camps and discos are actually punished, through increased study load, and also mentally through public disgrace (letting the school know who isn't joining in).

Other reported cases of teacher discrimination in Australia includes teachers snatching the hijab off sisters, neglecting cases of abuse against Muslims (Muslims are supposed to have been used to being singled-out by now), and police investigations into the activities of Muslims purely on the basis of their religion.

Peer Pressure

Fellow students can have a devastating effect on the moral and piety of a Muslim. These pressures should never be underestimated, which can intimidate a Muslim into taking drugs, smoking, 'hanging out' with a socialize friends; to nightclubs, and having illegal relationships man and women , man and man or women and women .

Sisters feels compelled to waste money on extravagant items, 'name-tags', such as Fiorelli and Benetton, for the sole purpose of fitting-in. The preservation of her virginity is not a virtue, but rather a disgrace, a symbol of her 'frigidity' . It sounds crazy, but whether we ignore this or not, it is there and in a big way.

Brothers must act and smell and look like the Kuffaar to avoid persecution. Anything which will take them away from their Islamic bonds. It's the right thing to abuse your parents, obeying them is downright lack of personality.

Who are we?

The sad thing is that, we have the solution for all of  this, but we ignore it. Muslims don't have to feel that they're a group without identity or meaning. Nor should we allow anyone to prevent us from fulfilling our duties to Allah (S.W.T).

Legally, we have many options to take in practicing Islam at school. We have a right to pray during the specified times. Many schools now has Friday Prayers in a designated room. it took was the joint effort of committed students, who themselves conduct the Khutbah. We also have the right to celebrate our festivals, and wear our prescribed clothing without harassment. Other religious groups are permitted by the Schools to refrain from certain school activities. The Amish do not watch television class, the Sikhs wear their turbans wherever they go, the Jehovah Witness do not participate in the flag-raising or singing the national anthem. We also have our rights to watch what we deem permissible, and refrain from unIslamic events. Many precedents have been set in this regard. It requires the strength of our brothers and sisters, a joint effort, and the knowledge that Muslims will not disobey Allah for the will of anyone.

The Prophet (saws) and the Companions had nothing but disgust for the way of life of the disbelievers. In fact, they had so much disgust that they purposely did everything the opposite of them. 'Umar bin al-Khattab' (r.a.a.) actually forced the Muslims to look differently from the disbelievers. So why are we trying to imitate them?

Muslims have been given honour through Islam and nothing else. Not through expensive designer clothes, nor expensive sneakers, or top ten CD's. In fact, if you examine the history of the Kuffaar, you will find them so inconsistent in their behaviour that only an idiot would want to copy them. Every year brings on a new fashions, a new habit, a new religion. One year, its drugs, then its alcohol, then its mineral water and alls the things that can destroy themselves.

Australians can only copy Americans, which really shows how much sense of identity they have. Americans love hip hop, so do Australians. They wear baseball caps, we all may as well follow them.

Muslims however have their own identity, history and religion, which millions have flocked to escape the filth and stupidity of Kufr. Why are we doing the opposite?

Our Youth have to be supported by the community. When they are in need of assistance, we must be there. This could be financially, or morally. When they begin on reforming themselves, and assisting in bringing about a change, the solid support must be there to helps them for growing and reforming .


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