I am learning to become a counselor, and we need to come to better understand someone from another culture than our own. Because my degree is in counseling that would be the viewpoint I am coming from with some of these questions. I would love to learn a little bit more about your culture, about your family structure and roles, and how Islam affects your day to day lives as well as how Muslim's view professional counseling. I know that many faith communities encourage each other to get help from their own religious leaders. Through what I learn the goal, other than completing the assignment, would be to know your culture better so if I was given the privilege of helping an American Muslim I would not make wrongful assumptions based on my own culture. Contextual examples: I am white, Christian, male, and American. Our culture is very individualistic. We generally tend to value our independence rather than some cultures like Chinese-Americans who are more collectivist (family centered). Out of my ignorance I may encourage independence for the young individual, whereas, I should have taken their culture and values into consideration before offering "help". I want to help people heal, not cause them harm. So out of ignorance for Muslim-American culture I wish to learn more so I can become more culturally competent and better help whoever is put before me. It is my desire to learn to more about people and how best to help them. This is a list that a group of my classmates and I put together. If there are any questions you wish I asked please suggest them and also answer them if you are willing.

  1. Does being a Muslim make it difficult to live in Western Society?
  2. How do Muslims view counseling?
  3. How often have you thought about yourself as a Muslim?
  4. How does your Muslim community deal with emotional and/or mental issues?
  5. What are some of the most important values you hold in your faith?
  6. How do you express those values?
  7. Have you or your family experienced any discrimination because of your religion?
  8. What are some of your family customs and roles of members within your family? What is your role in your family?
  9. How does your legal code add pressures to your life?
  10. How has prejudices against Islamic people affected you?
  11. In what ways do your social roles or rules affect you?
  12. How do you feel Islam helps you out with your illnesses (mental, physical, spiritual)?
  13. Have you ever experienced disease attributed to spiritual means?
  14. When experiencing spiritual illness, how would you like to be counseled?
  15. How does the Islam help you deal with personal issues?
  16. Is there something you wish I had asked you but didn’t? What is it and how would you answer?

I understand many of these questions may be personal. Maybe you can private message me the answers. I am looking for answers from an individual person not necessarily a generalized answer.
Other helpful but not necessary information would be:

Thanks for any help you are willing to offer. I appreciate any help I can get, and I really do look forward to learning more about you Islam and your culture.