Youth told to stay clear of excessive social interaction

National 2 minutes, 19 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

AN ESTIMATED 88 to 95 per cent of all teenage pregnancies in the country between 2014 and 2015 occurred among Muslim youths, according to a senior community development officer yesterday.

The estimated figure was for all pregnancies outside of wedlock among girls between 12 and 19 years old recorded during the period, said Hjh Noor Hidayah Hj Osman, head of the Children’s Section under the Community Development Department’s (JAPEM) Women and Children Unit.

She said the figure was obtained from another government agency which she declined to name as she did not have the “necessary clearance”.

“Although Islam teaches or forbids such things for its followers, it still happens anyway among the youths of this country,” she said, during a religious talk held yesterday at the Sultan Sharif Ali mosque in Kg Sengkurong.

“Such issues arise from excessive social interaction between boys and girls before marriage which is not allowed in Islam,” she added.

It has been previously reported that at least 200 unplanned teenage pregnancies occur every year and 3,700 of them have been reported to the Maternal and Child Health clinic in the past decade.

Hjh Noor Hidayah said problems at home and the social environment of the victims were the likely cause of the issue.

“Among them is an unstable or problematic home where the teenage mother lives in, economical challenges where the income of the family is low, lack of education, unsupervised social media interaction and peer pressure,” she said.

She encouraged youths to follow the practices taught in Islam when it comes to abstinence and reproductive health.

“Each youth must play their individual roles to the best that they can to avoid falling into this problem as prevention of such issues is important to maintain the prosperity of the community,” she said.

She also urged youths and families to help those who are problematic instead of labeling and shunning them.

“They (problematic youths) are most of the time victims of their circumstances so instead of labelling them as bad, extend a helping hand and guide them back to the right path,” she said.

The youth club of the Sultan Sharif Ali mosque, Syababul Iman, yesterday held a talk for over 300 youths titled ‘Youth Protection Series: Social Interaction Issues and Children Born Out Of Wedlock’. The talk featured a panel of experts consisting of a community development officer, a medical doctor, an ustaz and an ustazah.

The talk is the first of a series called the Youth Protection Series organised by Syababul Iman aimed at raising the awareness among youths of the dangers of social issues, especially those involving interaction between both genders, from an Islamic perspective. The talk series is open to the public and more information can be found at the mosque and schools where posters of the talk are distributed.

The Brunei Times