After reading and reviewing the material in the Reading & Study folder, reflect upon what you have learned and include pertinent aspects of the material in your response to the following:
What are 3 themes that stand out in helping you understand Arab Muslims better? Include 1 theme out of these that helps you better understand Islamic extremist terrorism. What is 1 question you would like to ask Rheam that Dr. Garzon did not?
Note: Terrorism is not being excused in asking you to understand something about it; indeed, you should have a balanced perspective.
My text is Hays, D. G., & Erford, B. T. (2018). Developing multicultural counseling competence: A systems approach (3rd ed.) and McGoldrick, M., Giordano, J., & Garcia-Preto, N. (Eds.) (2005). Ethnicity and family therapy (3rd ed.).
Here is an example of what someone else wrote but please do not write anything they wrote …………..
To understand Arab Muslims better it is important to have a better understanding of the culture versus religion. One area that becomes blurred between culture and religion is honor killings. Garzon (2010a) informs us that although many people may practice Islam religion, honor killings are more of a cultural practice which is also found in some Hindu and Sikh cultures. Unfortunately, sometimes the religious community will support the honor killings and the government does little to punish people for these outrageous crimes (Garzon, 2010a). Islam religion was founded by Muhammad in the 7th century. The Islamic law was originally written to help people lead lives of peace and taught respect for others. The very word Islam means peace which is contradictory of promoting violence (Hays & Erford, 2018). Regrettably, culture and society have interfered with the religious teaching which has led to violent acts carried out on Women especially. Honor killings can occur when a woman does not adhere to the social culture norms, particularly concerning sex and dating, by adopting the western culture ways (Garzon, 2010a).
A second theme in understanding Arab Muslims better is to acknowledge the stereotypes. First of all, not all Middle Eastern people are Arabs and around 80% of Middle Eastern Arabs are Muslim or adhere to the Islamic religion. Furthermore, the majority of Muslims do not even live in the Middle East, therefore, labeling all Arabs as Muslim is incorrect (Hays & Erford, 2018). Another stereotype is that all women are denied the right to education and are not allowed to choose what they wear or who they marry. Dr. Garzon (2010a) notes in his presentation that many women do have their rights, however, there are extreme cases where women are stripped from their rights and even suffer great domestic violence which can include an honor killing. According to the Islamic faith, men and women are considered equal in God’s eyes, however, it is known that local customs do sometimes play a role in suppressing women and limiting their rights in society (Hays & Erford, 2018).
A third theme which can help understand Islamic extremist terrorism is self-education and taking the perspective that not all Muslims or Middle Eastern people are in fact terrorists. Discrimination occurs when people automatically assume and stereotype all people of Middle Eastern decent as vicious harmful people. According to Garzon (2010a), the 9/11 terrorist attacks played a role in the heightened stereotyping and discrimination of Muslims, particularly in America. One thing to keep in mind is that in every culture or religion there may be several separate groups or factions operating similarly on a few aspects and extreme opposites in other areas. Awareness of these different religious variations between groups and within groups, can help to better understand why extreme terrorist groups exist (Garzon, 2010a).
One question that I would like to ask Rheam that Dr. Garzon (2010b) did not is about the stereotype of Muslim dress, especial women. I noticed that Rheam was dressed more like the American women than what is depicted on television and in the movies. Many people automatically assume that all Middle Eastern women are required to wear a head covering and long dark garments. Hays & Erford (2018) reveal that many Arab women are allowed to dress as they wish, and many choose to dress modern, especially those living in America. I would ask Rheam whether she grew up wearing modern clothing or did she make the choice to change as an adult? I also wonder if the women in Jordan get treated negatively based on their choice of modern or traditional clothing? I believe it is important to try to understand another culture by exploring for yourself and engaging with people of that culture before making assumptions and possibly fall into the cycle of stereotyping and discrimination. As Christians, we need to remember that Jesus died for everyone and that God’s love and grace extend beyond cultural and religious boundaries.