DUBAI // The Deputy Police Chief attacked the parents of the teenagers who allegedly stabbed to death an Emirati boy, saying it was the adults' fault their children did not have "good values".
Ali Mohammed Hassan, 13, was stabbed to death by a group of teenagers outside his home in Al Rashidiya on Thursday, police say. Five suspects are in custody. "I put the full responsibility on the parents of the perpetrators, because they did not bring up their children with good values and morals," said Maj Gen Khamis al Mazeina. "They did not teach them how to respect their peers and did not teach them how to deal without violence."
He said a conflict between two groups of teenagers that apparently led to the killing should have been reported to the police. "Both the victim and the perpetrators' parents made a mistake by not reporting the initial fight." He said some of the relatives of those detained were police officers, suggesting they should have known that carrying knives is illegal. But he denied Dubai had a gang problem.
On Sunday, in response to the horrific killing, Dubai Police announced it would tighten the screws on young people who are suspected of possessing blades. Any found carrying "any sharp tool" will be arrested and second-time offenders will be referred to the court, Gen al Mazeina said. Teenagers needed to be better monitored to prevent such incidents, he added. Fights have been reported in areas such as Satwa, Al Warqa, Oud al Muteena. In most cases, teenage boys have been known to pick fights or mug people.
Police released new details about Thursday night's events yesterday. The five teenagers who have been arrested were specifically looking for Ali's home, they said. He was stabbed with a knife that had a 30cm-long blade, they added. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the governing body for schools in Dubai, expressed concern yesterday over a lack of support for teenagers in the emirate.
Fatma al Marri, the chief executive of the Dubai Schools Agency at the KHDA, said: "We are sure the Ministry of Education shares our concern about the lack of social workers in our public schools. "We are aware that some children and their families need professional support and guidance on a day-to-day basis. We would like to see our school children surrounded by care and support for whatever situation they find themselves in."
Ms al Marri said the agency was willing to work with the police, school staff, parents, community leaders and whoever might be able to help prevent such a tragedy occurring again. "That would be the best memorial we could give to this young victim," she said. Obaid al Taher, principal at the Mohammed Noor Boys' School, which Ali attended, said he had never encountered such a brutal attack in his career as an educator.
He also said parents needed to guide their children better. "Parents have to take time to raise their children," he said. "We say that mother is the first school for a child. Parents have to watch their children." Although Mr al Taher said he had never seen students carrying serious weapons at his school, he called gangs in Dubai a "problem" that could not be ignored. Dr Raymond Hamdan, a clinical and forensic psychologist at the Human Relations Institute in Dubai, said a small percentage of teens exposed to violent images in movies and on television - between two and five per cent - will emulate them.
"Crime, sex and profanity are sell-able. These days, young people are exposed to television, gaming programmes and movies in which crime is heavily rewarded. "When they keep watching such visuals, it extinguishes their sense of moral understanding and development." Places of worship and the educational system can play a role, he added. Dr Hamdan also said there should be young offender programmes to help troubled teenagers integrate back into society.
"Even though psychologists have an explanation for what is happening, there is no excuse for murder," he said. @Email:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org