Wednesday, March 25, 2015

10 Reasons Muslims have a hard time after immigrating

Another day comes to a close beside the Red Sea
Ten Reasons Muslims have a hard time after immigrating

1. Ethical: The Hollywood image of life is deep in the consciousness of Muslims as they arrive, wondering how they will live in such a 'sinful world'.

2. Misunderstanding: Western Liberal values are driven by the Enlightenment, 300 years ago, and new patterns of "freedom and individuality" are still emerging.

3. Individualism: Individualism in the west contrasts with a sense of community and solidarity in most of the 150 Muslim sects / divisions in the world, Sun'ni and Shi'a being the largest.

4. An Unfriendly society: The demands of urban life means there is little time left over for long chats, lunch hour breaks and visiting back and forth.

5. Language: The differences between English (or German, French, Swedish) and Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, or other major languages means that few immigrants become fluent in their new language.

6. Economic issues: Even if a person is well trained, they usually start on the bottom rung. Some immigrants do well; most suffer silently as they work long hours with low wages.

7. Opinions of the Grandparents: Relatives "back home" expect that their son or daughter will have instant success. They find it hard to believe that there would be obstacles to overcome, and that their child is not accepted as well "over there" as "back here at home".

Another flight ready for take off in Dubai, UAE
8. Depression and health issues: Depression may set in and it is hard to treat in a cross-cultural context, which means Muslims go further into their faith of Islam; Health issues may be difficult to explain, especially if a female Muslim can't find a doctor whom she respects.

9. Sense of belonging: Western Society is not pre-disposed to accept another person "because he is a friend of my brother's cousin". Respect in the West is earned through competence and status symbols, whereas "back home" everyone knew everyone else's business.

10. The Next Generation: Parents want their children to follow in their steps, especially in their religious faith, but the pull of the Western world on their sons and daughters is strong. Few realize how difficult this is on Muslim parents.

(Thanks to Emad Botros for this outline, a small portion of his insightful presentations.)

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