Intercultural Communication

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Intercultural Communication

I spent my time with a Muslim, a person who shared Islamic culture since being born. We spent around 5 hours together, chatting and walking around, making fun. During our time together, I asked several questions, one being why women wear ‘hijab’ that covers their faces to their toes. Again, I asked about their take on terrorism and why the Muslim religion is so much aligned with terror. From the little time we spent together, I can say that I learned many things in regard to their culture and religion. In regards to the Muslim culture, women are not allowed to show off their faces as well as their legs and thus are expected by the society as a culture to wear black clothing mostly dark that will cover their body from head to toe with only leaving an opening for the eyes. It is a tradition that has been in existed for decades as, according to her, her grandparents still carried on with the tradition, and she only inherited it at a young age, mostly she doesn’t know the age exactly. I demanded to know whether there are some cases when the clothing can be removed, she said yes, but no one is expected to get out to the people without it. You can remove it when at home alone.

Aside from covering the eyes, I also questioned the relationship between Islamic religion and terrorism. To her, terrorism is individual, it is not the religion that is bad or that teaches terrorism, but it is the individuals who tend to paint it negatively through engaging in extremist behavior. I liked her perspective challenging my religion – Christianity, where she said that even members of the Christian religion might practice extremist activities that may as well be termed as terroristic. I also noted that they had a special way of greeting their elderly, especially when talking to older men in their culture. They don’t speak directly and try as much as they can to avoid eye contact. Respect is one of the greatest virtues that the Islamic culture instills into the people.

I was more of the interviewer, and thus, I am pretty sure that she did not pic much from me. I asked most of the questions while she made the responses. But despite this am sure she grasped a thing or two, and one of them is that most of us – Christian tend to stereotype people, especially those from the Islamic religion. The inference was so open when I asked about the relationship between Islam and terrorism, and she seemed to be appalled, saying that “You people do judge a lot.” I am sure she never took it positively, and I felt sorry for that.

Another thing that I can say that she could have picked from my culture is the code of dressing. She said that we are lucky that we can change clothes and look different for different occasions as they have to put on the clothing, making them look the same. It would be hard to differentiate women, especially when they are wearing the same.

Based on this assignment, I can attest that I learned several things, one of which includes appreciating other people’s cultures. Culture is unique, and it is difficult to change, though change can be gradual, it would be difficult to completely erase the cultural attachments regardless of the geographical location or the separation with the rest of the society members such as the family. Another key takeaway that I learned is that different cultures have different approaching styles, some of the cultures are still hard on the conservation of traditional concepts, maintaining the ancient practices that include dressing, cuisine, and socialization. We do need to appreciate cultures as they are a symbol of diversity, and we learn from them, whether knowingly or not.

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