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linda
11-22-2006, 01:56 PM
Hi

Im studying intercultural studies as part of an honours degree and as part of this module I am encouraged to explore another culture of my choice. I would love to have the opportunity to post some questions for the users of the forum to consider and hopefully reply to. I wanted to post this first as didnt want to just assume that I could go ahead with asking questions. I look forward in eager anticipation to hearing your replies to this.

Linda
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BlissfullyJaded
11-24-2006, 02:40 AM
Hi,

Go ahead, and post your questions, please. If I can be of any help, I'll answer them, if not, I'm sure there will be others willing to answer. :)
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north_malaysian
11-24-2006, 03:22 AM
OK... shoot your questions now!!!;D
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linda
11-24-2006, 12:24 PM
Hi all

Thank you for your replies. Im just doing some research at the moment so I can gather some questions together, so I will post some questions in a few hours.
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linda
11-24-2006, 12:29 PM
Hello again, just thought of a question that maybe some people could offer their views on. As part of my research I am looking at how people adapt to a new culture, so is there anyone that has been away on a visit to somewhere other than home, maybe someone that has recently moved to a different country or perhaps someone that is studying in a different country? Maybe we could chat about some of the experiences you had or how you felt?
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ژاله
11-24-2006, 12:51 PM
assalamu alaikum as far as i am concerned,i try my best to adjust myself to a new place but that is a big challenge......
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linda
11-24-2006, 01:10 PM
Hello faizi

Thanks for your reply. Would you be willing to share with me your views on some of these challenges?
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Woodrow
11-24-2006, 02:30 PM
I was born and raised in the US. Born in Connecticut. However left when I was 19 Years old. Lived in a number of countries.

This is the third time I have lived in Texas. On a cultural basis I found more differences between McAllen, Texas and Houston, Texas Then I found between Hartford, Connecticut and Casablanca, Morocco.

The only differences I find between Muslims and non-Muslims here in Texas, is those of us who are Muslim attend a Mosque and the non-Muslims don't. to be honest I am very hard pressed to find any differences between us Muslims and the non-Muslims except for the fact we do not participate in many of the activities and festivities the non-Muslims do. We are more open about our daily prayers.

Perhaps you might have some specific questions, as I can not think of any cultural issues or differences.
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Abdul Fattah
11-24-2006, 03:47 PM
Well I was raised catholic my mom's catholic and my father was atheistic. I turned out atheistic myself to until a couple of years ago I converted to Islam. It has changed my life completely, but that is not a cultural change. Perhaps one or two smaller things or habits might have slipped trough, but the changes I made to my life were mostly religious ones. So if you have any specific questions fire away.
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Woodrow
11-24-2006, 05:11 PM
I believe it is going to be very difficult to find a specific Muslim Culture. Any culture issues will be more related to national origin rather than being Muslim.

You have probably noticed that even on this forum those of us who are Muslim differ considerably in Language, Food Preferences, Educational preferences, and Social Choices.

What we do have in common is the guidelines of the Qur'an and the fact that we strive to submit to the will of Allah(God)(swt) in all things. Although we all do material things differently and have different likes, we do have the same rules as to what is forbidden and what is allowed. Remember, because something is allowed, does not mean we have to do that specific thing. Although when something is forbidden we can not do it in any form, shape, manner or fashion.
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linda
11-24-2006, 06:09 PM
Woodrow you are absolutely right in your observations. Maybe I could redefine my request. What I am really seeking to explore is the issues related to the adaptation into a new culture, as in a new country. So maybe if there is anyone that has recently come to a new country, and they can express their issues related to their adaptation. Such issues as how the culture of their country of origin differed from that of the host country? If my question isnt clear please let me know.
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- Qatada -
11-24-2006, 09:02 PM
Hi.


My stay in saudi arabia for a holiday was kind of different to how i am in the UK. For instance, when i was in arabia - the call for prayer is called out five times a day so the people of the town/area can hear it, this is a sign for the people that one of the 5 daily prayers has started (i.e. the morning prayer, midday prayer, night prayer etc.) When this occured, i saw that people who were running their stores, placed a cloth over the merchandise and rushed towards the masjid (mosque.) for prayer.



This was totally surprising to me because in the UK, nothing like this hardly ever occurs, and the business's keep going and i don't see any form of spirituallity. I was also shocked with the fact that they don't fear that anyone will steal their property, most likely because they put their trust in God/Allaah Almighty.


This occurs five times a day in different parts of the day, every day of the year. Non Stop. A muslim is obliged to pray to their Lord, their Creator - Allaah Almighty, and Allaah blesses the people through this. If a person does good to please their Creator, He - Allaah/God Almighty will give them an easy and blessed life in this world and the hereafter. Because obviously the Creator created us for a reason, and that is so we worship Him, so He sends messengers among mankind to convey the message (of which include Noah, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad (peace be upon them) etc.) This message is for all of mankind, and those who submit to Allaah/God Almighty [islam means submission to the Creator] will be rewarded with paradise in the hereafter, and those who reject His signs, and blessings - they will be punished in the hereafter.



Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.


In houses (mosques), which Allah has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned, and to be honoured), in them His Name is glorified in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings,


Men whom neither trade nor sale diverts them from the Remembrance of Allah (with heart and tongue), nor from performing As*Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) [the prayer], nor from giving the Zakat [charity.] They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (from the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection).


[Qur'an Surah Nur 24:35-37]


It's Arabic:

[Qur'an Surah Nur (surah 24)]
http://kalamullah.com/Quran/exceptional/Al-Mehrajaan_Al-Enshaadi_1_Abo_'6abi_-_01_-_Telaawah.mp3





Those people remind me of that verse from the Qur'an. :) Anyway, if you got any questions - please don't hesitate to ask.




Peace.
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linda
11-24-2006, 09:23 PM
Hi


Thank you for your reply and it certainly makes for interesting reading, have to admit though that the sounds which you attached gave me the fright of my life as I had my speakers up full volume and didnt expect it.
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Woodrow
11-24-2006, 09:39 PM
If you like I can change the title of your thread to something like:

"Seeking your views as a Muslim moving from a Muslim Country to a Non-Muslim Country"

Perhaps that would be more inline with what you are looking for.
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- Qatada -
11-24-2006, 09:43 PM
I'm sorry about that, it's just a recitation in arabic of the verses i posted earlier on.


Have you ever been to another country, and if so - how did it differ to the place you are located at right now? Maybe the brothers and sisters could see what you went through and they might feel more comfortable to share their experiences too.



Regards.
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linda
11-24-2006, 10:03 PM
Woodrow that would be great, shall I do that or will you? Thank your for your cooperation you have been most obliging. Fi Sabilillah yes that is certainly an interesting thought. I have travelled quite a bit and would be more than willing to share my views and will do so in a seperate relply. Thank you for your suggestion.
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linda
11-24-2006, 10:12 PM
Maybe a little bit about my background would break the ice a little. Im 31, Irish and for want of a better way of describing myself, I am an avid traveller and have a passion for understanding different cultures. I spent a year travelling mostly in Australia which isnt too different culturally from Ireland. I did however spend some time in South Africa, Thailand and Cambodia. As these countries are quite different in some respects to that which i have grown up in they presented me with the greatest challenge. Cambodia was I think the most interesting because it was so different and it hasnt (at the time anyway) become too comercialised. My knowledge of Cambodia before travelling was limited to what I read in the media or saw on TV so all I really knew about what the horrific past that it had experienced. So admitedly I was nervous about going. I had as we all do I guess some expectations and the level to which you experience a 'Culture Shock' depends largely on how those expectations are met. I did find it somewhat of an uneasy and stressful experience at the start but how quickly you overcome that depends on your willingness to integrate and adapt to the new culture. I'll leave it there for now but if there is anyone out there that is willing to discuss their experiences maybe I can develop the discussion by offering some more of my experiences. As my new thread will say (see above) I am particulary interested in the experiences of muslims travelling to non-muslim countries. Looking forward to hearing all your experiences.
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linda
11-24-2006, 10:17 PM
I see you have changed my thread already, thank Woodrow
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Woodrow
11-24-2006, 10:18 PM
Instead of a new thread I changed the title of this one. That will leave an indication of what has happened and clarify what you are looking for. I'm also going to move it to a more appropriate section now.
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Mawaddah
11-24-2006, 10:31 PM
Well.....When I was younger I moved from the Bahamas to Yemen, and after 7 years wound back up in the Bahamas again.
I've quite a few experiences but I cannot type it all up now as it's time for Maghrib prayer.
Insha'allah another time.
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linda
11-24-2006, 11:49 PM
Mawaddah I would love the opportunity to hear about your experiences. Would you be willing to spend some time answering a variety of questions that I have in relation to your experience of moving to a different culture???
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Woodrow
11-25-2006, 05:16 AM
I kind of made a reverse move. I was 19 years old the first time I went to Morocco. At that time I was still calling myself a Christian and was a Devout Catholic. Belonged to the Knights of Columbus and the whole 9 yards. I had been thinking of becoming a priest. In fact my undergrad years in College, a little later on were in a Seminary.

Morocco was my first exposure to Islam. To be quite Honest except for the climate I did not see much difference in the people then I had seen in Connecticut. I was a farm boy in Connecticut and most of the Moroccans I met were farmers. I guess farmers are much the same world wide. Of course there was the language difference. However I was fairly able to use colloquial Arabic so that was no big problem, plus many Moroccans are tri-Lingual speaking Spanish, French and Arabic. I was very impressed with how many people there were Multi-linguistic.While I was there I spent some time in Tanja (Tangiers) which at that time was a truly international city. Different areas spoke different languages. I remember even going into Swedish and German sections of the city. Tanja was a city much like the US, very multi Cultural and nobody seems out of place. In Morocco I began to pursue the Arabic language more. I managed to get an Arabic copy of the Qur'an. At that time I did not realise that many if not most Muslims believe that a pure Arabic Qur'an should only be touched by Muslims.I really did not see much difference in Muslims and Catholics. At that time many Catholic practices were very similar to the practices of Muslims. Catholics then prayed a minimum of 5 times daily, we did a ritual washing with holy water upon entering a church and our blessing before prayer was vitually Identical with the Muslim "Bismillahi" of Muslims we also had the 40 day fast of lent, which was very similar to Ramadahn. Frankly except for the language I saw no differences between Moroccans and Connecticut, Yankees.


After many years when I finaly did settle down in one country it was back in the US but in Louisiana. There I lived in a large city. Actually the first time I had actually lived in a large city. I hated it. I hated having neighbors so close I could smell what they were cooking. I hated going outside and being able to walk into a neighbors yard almost immediatly. Most of all I missed the forest and the sound of animals at night. Later I moved to Mexico for a couple of years. I was up in the Northern Section not far from Reynosa. I enjoyed that, but money didn't last and I had to return to the work environment. So moved to Texas. Eventialy became a farmer had a fair sized place. Things were going well but things happen. Now, I am in Austin and have to live with my daughter. I've been here almost a year now, and I would say this is an adjustment problem. Here I am back in a city, trying again to adapt to city life. Fortunatly I am somewhat disabled now and can not get out and around on my own anymore, so it is the best option. At least I have the company of my grand children and get to spend much time talking to them about the "Olden" days.
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snakelegs
11-26-2006, 01:04 AM
interesting thread.
when some westerners become muslims, they do make certain cultural changes - immediate examples that come to mind is some adopt a very strict policy on music (forbidden!), adopt a very different way of dressing, etc. so they haven't gone anywhere physically, but to an extent, they have "emigrated" to a different culture, including taking on another language to the extent possible.
there is a degree of withdrawal from the main-stream culture and its values. (not a bad idea, in my opinion ;D )
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AhmedBahgat
11-26-2006, 03:23 AM
Hello Linda

I migerated to Australia 15 years ago (originally from Egypt) and now I can assure you that I found that Australia have Muslims without Islam and in Egypt there is Islam without Muslims

I hope you understsand what i mean

Salam
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linda
11-26-2006, 01:28 PM
It was interesting what snakelegs said about how when westerners become Muslim they have "emigrated" to a different culture. Maybe someone could offer their views on this and maybe discuss the challenges they faced.
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linda
11-26-2006, 02:06 PM
Maybe Ahmed you could share with me some of your experiences. Did you experience a "Culture Shock" when you arrived in Australia. I have never been to Egypt but I think its safe to say that both countries are very different. I will post with some more specific questions later, if you have the time maybe you could answer them?
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Woodrow
11-27-2006, 02:19 PM
On a personal note in my case when I reverted the 2 most noticed changes had to do with alcohol and smoking. I used to enjoy an occasional beer and a glass of wine with supper. I was also a very heavy smoker and had been a smoker most of my life. I realised in Islam that both are considered haram before I reverted. Yet, when I said the shahadah, they were not even a factor and both were very easy to give up.

That has resulted in a lose of close friendship with a couple of friends. The ritual of male fellowship with a few bottles of beer seems to be very strongly ingrained in culture. By no longer participating in events where Alcohol is a factor, I do find my self now excluded from some things. However I am no longer very much concerned with social events, so that has not been a hardship.
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linda
11-27-2006, 08:52 PM
its certainly true what you say about certain male fellowship rituals being ingrained in a culture. Ireland is known for its drinking culture so im sure anyone reverting here would have similar experiences to you. Thanks for sharing your views with me Woodrow, your input is much appreciated and very interesting.
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