A Poisonous Subculture

The Lebanese community, particularly in Sydney, are frequently singled out for criticism for all sorts of anti-social behaviour. At various times, commentators and politicians have accused the community of an indifference to gang rape, car rebirthing, drug dealing, gang violence, arms dealing, and so on. The intimation in much of this commentary has been that there is an Islamic or, at best, Arab cultural dimension to all this: that is to say beneath all the bravado and aggression that characterises the popular portrayal of Lebanese gangs is a kernel of eman (faith) or loyalty to Lebanese or Arab culture.

It seems that there is certainly a cultural dimension to much of the problems of Lebanese youth but it is not Arab culture or Islamic culture that is to blame. Rather, it seems, that a minority of Lebanese youths have been more influenced by the noxious gangsta culture of the ghettos of North America than anything identifiably Arab or Islamic. The following television footage provides a useful insight into the sort of subculture that has developed amongst some Arab — Muslim and Christian — youth in this country.