Scriptures which remind young Muslims of Islamic teachings should be installed in Sheffield to cut anti-social behaviour, it has been suggested.
Youngsters as young as 13 – known as the ‘Top Corner Boys’ – have been terrorising residents in Nether Edge by committing crimes including threatening people with knives and serious assaults.
And Coun Nikki Bond, Sheffield Council Labour member for Nether Edge, has warned there could be a spike in bad behaviour when the Muslim period of Ramadan starts later this month.
She said: “We have Ramadan coming up and, going by the past couple of years, we expect there might be a rise in anti-social behaviour.
“Some people ponder if it might be something to do with an increase in religious activity around Ramadan.
“There have been academic theories as to whether the young people feel a tension between their religious obligations and fitting in with Western culture.”
Coun Bond said community figures in the area are working on a range of ideas to tackle unruly behaviour.
She said: “We have an offer from the Embedded Community Mediation project to recruit and train young people from Nether Edge to become community mediators.
“One issue is young people in the area don’t feel they have any role models to look up to, so if we can make them community mediators, they become part of the solution and not part of the problem.”
Another idea involves installing hadiths – religious scriptures which reiterate the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad – across the area
A post on the Nether Edge Labour Party website with suggestions for tackling the problem said: “Establish a group to support the development of a youth club at Madina Mosque, investigate installing hadiths in the area to remind young people of the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad and consider how we can raise awareness of the work being done to tackle anti-social behaviour.”
Coun Mohammad Maroof, fellow Labour member for Nether Edge, said: “These are various ideas put forward to tackle the issues.
“The youth club will be important, because it will give us a chance to speak to young people directly.”
South Yorkshire Police said it intends to use new laws to clamp down on the gang.
However, Sheffield Council rejected the hadiths idea.
Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “It is important anti-social behaviour is dealt with. However, Sheffield is a city of many faiths, cultures and communities, and we would not use religious texts as a way of addressing anti-social behaviour.
“We are working with the police, youth teams, schools and the community to address issues in the most effective way we can.”