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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Disaster in Our Homes Pt1

Video Games, Blockbuster Movies and Television

Shaykh Sulayman Gani, Special to sunniforum.com

Says Almighty Allah: “And there are among men those who purchase idle talk in order to mislead others from Allah’s path without knowledge, and who throw ridicule upon it. For such there will be a humiliating punishment.” (Luqmaan 31:6)

Al-Aalusi relates that Al-Hasan Al-Basri was reported as saying that ‘lahwal hadeeth’ includes “everything which distracts one from worship and the remembrance of Allah such as whiling the night in idle conversation or entertainment, jokes, superstitious tales, songs and the likes thereof.” Al-Aalusi supports this view, saying that the verse should be interpreted to include all such blameworthy words and deeds which divert one from Allah’s plan.

From what has preceded, it is to be understood that undoubtedly, the viewing of television, movies and the playing of violent video games falls under the general censure, blame and rebuke cast upon those who fall into this category.

In these days of moral turpitude every sunshine heralds a greater widespread of spiritual retrogression, tyranny and disaster. Our society is riddled with social maladies- drug abuse, violence, murder, rape….Today, one in four teenagers has committed a crime and parents are threatened with prosecution if their children persistently play truant. About 1.25 million of all young people have committed a criminal offence in the last 12 months, according to a draft official report on youth justice.Children as young as 13 are starting to experiment with drugs and these early users are more likely to move on to hard drugs such as heroin.

So as not to leave any room for doubt in the mind of the conscientious, truth-seeking believer I deem it necessary to turn to some real life situations.

A Daily Mail survey found a shocking range of violent games widely available on the high street and over the internet with minimal checks on the buyer’s age. Stefan Pakeerah a pleasant, harmless 14 year old was killed by his 17 year old friend in emulation of one such game-Manhunt- in which the ‘hero’ slaughters everyone who crosses his path, for no reason whatever beyond the fun of causing death.Thus a young man was obliterated as if he were a blip on the screen. Our children are born into an age where computer games celebrate and even glorify brutality for its own sake.

Research has shown that 12 to 14-year olds became markedly more aggressive the longer they played violent games.So watch out for the following games: Manhunt, Unreal Tournament, Hitman Contracts, Soldier of Fortune II , Grand Theft Auto 3, State of Emergency, The Suffering, Doom III. Michael Carneal, 14, serving life for killing three students during a 1997 gun rampage at a school in Kentucky enjoyed playing violent video games such as Doom and Redneck Rampage. In Doom III , Hell has opened and released the undead onto a terrified world. Players must destroy them and then enter the underworld itself or the world will succumb to evil. Players ‘survive by killing, killing and killing’. The original version is said to have played a part in the Columbine high school massacre.

Hamish McRae writes in the Independent: ‘Watch out: television makes us unhappy. TV damages society in two ways: it makes people more violent and makes them less satisfied with what they have.The impact of violence has been well documented. You can measure how children become more aggressive the more time they spend watching the box.’

On 20 April 1999 in the Columbine high school in Denver the teenagers responsible for the massacre of twelve fellow pupils as well as a male teacher were said to be influenced and inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio’s drug addicted student character in the film, Basketball Diaries” in which he guns down teachers and classmates at a school wearing a black trenchcoat. A 15 year old student went on a shooting spree at his high school, near Atlanta, leaving six pupils in hospital. The attack came exactly a month after the Denver massacre in America

Hollywood broke into a cold sweat as the parallels between the Denver massacre and a host of popular “killer teen” flicks became clear, I came across an article in the Independent Review on 5 May 2004 entitled, We’re all doomed (to watch disaster movies). Hollywood’s latest blockbuster promises epic death and destruction.There is a case that being allowed to look at so many levels of cinematic torture or cruelty only builds indifference to such things.Palestine: the suffering goes on. Iraq: the killings have escalated.

In the US, a 12-year old boy was convicted of murder when he killed a six-year old girl after copying a move he saw on a World Wrestling Federation (WWF) show.Teenagers who watch TV wrestling are more likely to be violent and anti-social, according to a new study.

Two teenage students from the Hadlow Agricultral College in Kent , obsessed with horror videos and worshipping the devil, meticulously plotted the death of their best friend, stabbing him twenty times, burning his body with barbecue lightener and mutilated it before returning to bury it in a shallow grave. They even ignored his cries for mercy.

Horror videos which included the titles ‘Children of the Corn’, ‘The Evil Dead’, including the Hollywood film, ‘Scream’ as well as the British thriller, ‘Shallow Grave’ were found in the boys’ rooms. ‘Scream’ featured a group of friends on holiday who were attacked by a knife-wielding murderer. ‘The Evil Dead’ showed a zombie coming to life and attacking youths with an axe and carried it a sheet before burying it in woods.

To be continued...

In July 1999 two teenage boys repeatedly stabbed their friend (all three boys lived in Harrogate, Yorkshire) and left him for dead at the bottom of a 30ft cliff after watching a video of a horror film, Scream- in which college students are brutally stabbed.

We have been commanded by Allah to save ourselves and our families from the fire of Hell. The Prophet peace be upon him is reported to have said that you should command your children to perform salaah when they reach the age of seven and beat them (enforce them) to perform prayers at the age of 10 years. How are we going to achieve this when a recent study conducted by scientists found that for every hour of television watched daily, toddlers faced a 10 per cent increased risk of having attention problems by the age of seven. The scientists suggest toddlers suffer brain damage from watching even small amounts..

On 16 March 2004 the Times published an article entitled Ban TV for children under 2. Research suggests that parents who put young children in front of the television are leaving them prone to concentration problems, impulsiveness and restlessness by school age,. Recent studies have revealed a worrying prominence of television in young children’s lives, alongside a boom in pre-school programmes such as Fimbles, Tweenies and Teletubbies. The latter is thought to have almost a billion viewers around the world.

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