Do you know Aftab?

Do you know Aftab?

as-salamu ‘alaykum,

Whilst at a wedding last week in Luton, two young (Pakistani) boys, classic fat-kid and skinny-kid combo, of about 13 and 11 were deep in conversation “that f___ing pr__k, wait ’till I f___ing catch him f___ing pr__k”, I turned around and confronted them and said “oi! stop swearing, what is your problem, why do you need to swear?”, sheepishly they looked at one another and seemed embarrassed. So I let them be and went about the business of shepherding my kids to the wedding. As we started to walk towards the wedding hall the little gits started up their expletive riddled conversation again, and once again I gave them a telling off. My cousin saw this and came across and gave them a piece of his mind too but mentioning the fact they have had not been raised properly and that he will be complaining to their father(s) (not really knowing who their fathers actually are).

The kids looked at each other and the older fat-kid quietly said to his compadre “shall we call him? Go on call him” whilst looking at their mobile phone and debating amongst themselves whether to call “him” the skinny kid showed us his mobile phone and pointed to a picture and said rather smugly “do you know who that is? that’s Aftab!”, my cousin said to them, “is he some bad boy you are gonna call to shoot us or something? Go on call him” and we fell about laughing. “I’m gonna call Aftab” is now one of those phrases that raises a few laughs in our family! [NOTE: this is not Aftab Malik of Amal Press who can get quite scary when he is angry and I will call him if anyone gives me any trouble!]

Aside from the comedy of the situation, there is a serious issue here. I am not sure about the other Muslim communities but there is definitely this problem with a lot of Pakistani boys who descend into bad manners, foul language, machismo posturing, disrespect for age and authority and overall celebration and idealising (idolising?) of violence, drugs, crime and “bling”/gansta bad boys. This is a serious problem for now and the future, but how do we tackle it?

It may be a simplistic analysis but based on my experience as I see it, it is of fathers not being good role models for their sons, they are too busy working 18 hours shifts in taxis, restuarants and other work. In many cases their offspring is from a wife that they didn’t want in the first place and for whom they have no respect or love but were coerced into marriage by familial pressure. Quite often some of these men are “playing away from home” and so what little time they do have, they spend a lot of it with girlfriends away from home. The mothers of these children are usually from the villages of the Indian sub-continent, poorly educated (if at all). They are treated with contempt and disrespect by the fathers of these children and this feeds into the psyche of the children and they themselves see their mothers as not being worthy of respect.

Even when someone pulls up one of these unruly children and complains to their fathers, the fathers generally get defensive and offended that you even had the nerve and audacity to complain about their kids and the kids usually seem to get away with it. I think subconsciously they see it as a challenge to their parental authority which they have not really been exercising and to see someone else exercise this on their children is hard to take.

Is this a generalisation? Personally I don’t think so having known families of this description. I really think a lot of time and effort needs to be invested by various social support groups, social services, the education department etc to research this phenomenon and come up with practical solutions, because this is a breeding ground for serious criminals and sociopaths of the future.



3 thoughts on “Do you know Aftab?

  1. As the cousin mentioned in the above entry, I’d like to add another incident that I witnessed at the same wedding. Another young gangsta (again overweight – perhaps an indication of ‘Little Emperor’ syndrome pervading our community, a discussion for another time?) berated his mother over some request, at first verbally and with Punjabi and English swearing, and then he started to physically push her before storming off.

    Time and time again I have seen such things happen in the last decade. Masud and I are from the first generation that was born here in the 60s and 70s to immigrant parents. I disagree slightly with what Masud has written in that our parents’ generation also worked 18 hours a day – without this causing a crisis of disrespectful bad behaviour and the alienation from and lack of respect for family and authority that we are now seeing.

    I would actually say that Tony Blair and John Reid and Hazel Blears should be relieved and proud – as a community, we are increasingly becoming more integrated into today’s British values than all the doomsayers think!
    Lack of respect for self and others? TICK!
    Loss of moral and spiritual values?
    Obsessions with the trivial, the irrelevant and the banal? TICK!
    Overload of materialism? TICK!
    “There is no such thing as society” TICK!

  2. Just to clarify, the point about 18 hour shifts, even though our parents did them, they always made time for us, other kids weren’t so lucky.

  3. There are a lot of factors that have led to what you’ve described. I was born in the mid-80s and my father also worked long shifts to provide for his family, but my parents still instilled a sense of morality and manners into me, on which I look back on now seemed very quintessentially British: Say please/thank you etc. This may be due to colonialism still having had an effect on them, the phenomenon you’ve described seems to be more common in generations who came after me, British ‘colonial values’ are long gone, political correctness has now taken over and we no longer feel the need to help our children fit in to the society around them. Back when I was child the National Front and skin head culture was in its heyday (though I don’t remember it myself), and I think parents had to help their children fight the racism around them, that no longer is the case.

    Then there’s the whole case of mosques _still_ having sermons and talks in a language that not even the current young generation’s parents could understand, and what results is a lack of moral Islamic teaching being put into children. The number of reasons can just keep piling up.

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