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Comparative Cultural Patterns: Arab Culture. Chapter 9. Comparing Arab Cultures. Cultural awareness is a critical communication skill. Value categories (Ch. 8) are used to compare Arab and U.S. cultures. Specific emphasis on religion and language.

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Comparative Cultural Patterns: Arab Culture

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Comparative Cultural Patterns: Arab Culture

Chapter 9


Comparing Arab Cultures

  • Cultural awareness is a critical communication skill.

  • Value categories (Ch. 8) are used to compare Arab and U.S. cultures.

  • Specific emphasis on religion and language.

  • Identify communication barriers among the Arab states and the U.S.


Arab States

Diversity in the Arab World:

  • Iran is not considered an Arabian country because Persians (majority) speak Farsi.

    Focus on Theory

  • Relationship between religion and freedom.


Arab Sates and Islam

  • Arabs have 3 trends: nationalism, pan-Arabism, and Islam.

  • Followers of Islam total around 1.2 billion or 20% of the world’s population.

    • 2nd largest after Christianity.

  • Today some 75 countries have dominant Muslim populations.

  • Muslim literally means “submitters” to God.


Islam & Arabic Language

  • Mohammed was a prophet living in 7th century Arabia, (born 570, died 632).

  • The Koran (Quran) is thought to be the literal word of Allah, or God.

    • Received revelations thought the Angel Gabriel.

    • Revelations continued for 20 years and today comprise the Koran, or holy book of Islam.

    • Tajweed http://muslimmedianetwork.com/mmn/?tag=tajweed


Islamic Religious Practices5 obligations

1.Shahada, or creed is the confession of faith: La ilaha illa ‘llah and is translated at “there is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.”

2.Salah (prayer) is an important part of everyday life. Muslims are required to stop and pray 5 times a day facing in the direction of the holy city of Mecca.


5 obligations

3.Zakat (giving alms) to the poor is expected of each person.

4.Swam (fasting) during the holy month of Ramadan is required.

  • The hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca is a requisite trip for those who are able to make the journey. http://samatoursusa.com/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oCCub5gJc8


Case Studies

  • Why explore the dominant cultural patterns of Saudi Arabia and Dubai?

  • Because knowledge of other cultures is critical to our understanding of current


Saudi Arabia

  • Geography- geo-political role of importance b/c of land mass and location.

  • Discovery of oil and relationship with the U.S (25% -30 % of world’s reserves).

  • Saud family promotes Wahhabism - ultra conservative brand of Islam.

  • Considered the most conservative Islamic country in the world.


Saudi Arabia

  • Media is controlled by the government

  • Matawain - Societies for the Preservation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Moral Police.

    • Koran, sunnah & sharia law are the basis for the Saudi Constitution.

  • U.S. & Saudi Arabia have a close relationship

    • Based on oil, economics, and politics


Dubai

  • United Arab Emirates is comprised of seven Arab states. Dubai is one emirate.

  • Dubai has taken a divergent path compared to its Arab neighbors.

  • Investing oil profits in the region not the west.

  • Called the “Las Vegas” of the Middle East – tourism/tolerance.

  • Dubai is attempting to balance western interests and Islamic values.

  • http://dubai.ae/en/Lists/Topics/DispForm.aspx?ID=10&category=Residents


Birj Dubai


Tower in process


Dubai Waterfront & Marina


Burj Al Arab & Twisting Towers


Pyramid & Indoor Skiing


Dominant Cultural Patterns

  • The U.S. and Islamic Arab cultures clash over the following cultural values:

    • The relationship between God and humankind.

    • The role of morality in human affairs.

    • The role of technology and modernization.

    • The nature of progress.


Arab Worldview

Derived from Islam & expressed in the Arabic language.

Allah determines all action.

Private enterprise is valued but selfish and greedy capitalism is not tolerated.

Islamic worldview does not accept change uncritically & is therefore conservative (Koran).

If humans obey Allah & the Quran they will be in harmony with all other elements of nature.


Arab Values

  • Activity Orientation: hard work is a virtue.

  • All kinds of work is accepted except if indecent or immoral.

  • Humans are trustees of possessions but ultimately Allah is the “owner”

  • Islam encourages practicality not wishful thinking.

  • Time Orientation: Use of the Hijrah or Hegirian calendar; July 15, 622 is first day.

    • Lunar calendar based on cycles of the moon.


Arab Values

  • Monochronic and polychronic times

    • Challenges U.S. orientation.

  • Human Nature Orientation: Born free of sin therefore humans are more good than evil.

    • Only humans are endowed with intelligence and choice.

  • Relational Orientation: Collectivistic ( group, family) and Islam.


Role of women

  • Muslims say women in Arab cultures are equal to men – but

    • Equality and sameness are two different things.

    • Women can pursue education, freedom of expression, business and own property.

    • As a wife and mother, women are entitled to complete provision & maintenance by husband.

      In Saudi Arabia women are veiled & wear the Abaya, do not go out alone, drive, or eat with men, are not allowed to attend sporting events or go to the movie theater.


Communication Barriers

  • Political Unrest and terrorism

  • Westernization versus Cultural Norms

  • Stereotypes


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