The Educator's Guide To Middle Eastern Culture


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This powerpoint is designed to assist school administrators, teachers and school personnel in creating a culturally diverse academic environment. This is intended to be an aid with the growing demographic of Middle Eastern and Muslim Students attending public schools.

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The Educator's Guide To Middle Eastern Culture

  1. 1. Educator’s Guide to Middle Eastern Culture Wafa Hozien, Ph.D
  2. 2. What You Know • Make a list of what you know about the Middle East. • Share your list with the person next to you and compare your lists. • Then: • Read out loud one item on the List to share with Everyone.
  3. 3. Geography and Importance • 24 Countries make up the Middle East • Multitude of ethnic and linguistic groups. • Close to 60% of Earth’s oil reserves are at or near the Arabian Peninsula. • Saudi Arabia possesses the world’s largest reserves of oil.
  4. 4. Who? • • • • • • Hana, Isra and Mahmoud are Middle Eastern Children growing up in the United States of America. Over 200 million Middle Easterners worldwide. To be a Middle Easterner, is not to come from a particular race or lineage. To be a Middle Easterner, like an American, is a cultural trait rather than racial. The Middle East includes Muslims, Christians and Jews. Any person who adopts the Arabic language is typically called an Arab. Arabic is the official and the original language of the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book.
  5. 5. Common Misconceptions • All Middle Easterners are Muslims, and all Muslims are Middle Easterners . • The Middle East is backwards and uncivilized. • The Middle East is one big desert. • Stereotypes of Arab males: Angry Terrorists • Stereotypes of Arab women: Veiled and Uneducated Hana studying at school.
  6. 6. U.S. Legal Protection of Religious Rights • Prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, religious celebrations, as well as dietary and clothing requirements are practices of the Muslim faith. Such religious expressions are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects the free exercise of religion. Moreover, the Equal • Access Act of 1984 (upheld by the Supreme Court in 1990) affirmed the right of student-initiated religious activities in public schools.
  7. 7. Middle Eastern Western Family – Center of everything. (Father has first and last word.) Friends – Periphery, but courteous to all. Honor – Very Important. Honor will be protected and defended at all costs. Shame (especially against family) – avoided at all costs, insults and criticism taken very seriously. Time – less rigid. Approach to time is much more relaxed and slower than that in Western cultures. Religion – Central to all things. Society – Family / tribe is most important Government – Most governments are secular, but still emphasize religion. Age and Wisdom honored. Wealth honored in both cultures. Family – Important but not as central to individual. Friends – Core to some, important to most. Honor – Typically not as important. Shame – Typically not as important. Time- Very structured, deadlines must be met. Religion – Varies by individual, very personal, not discussed in polite conversation. Society – Individual rights. Government – Purpose is to protect rights and improve standard of living. Youth and Beauty praised. Wealth honored in both cultures.
  8. 8. Middle Eastern Dress Men • Ranges from the traditional flowing robes to blue jeans, T-shirts and western business suits. • The robes allow for maximum circulation of air around the body to help keep it cool, and the head dress provides protection from the sun. • At times, the traditional garb is mixed with Western clothes. • Always covered: • Naval to the Knee Ismail is Ready to go to the Mosque here in the US. Modern Muslim Men shown here.
  9. 9. Middle Eastern Women: Dress • • • • • • • • Hana at a Women's Conference. Adherence to traditional dress varies across societies. (More traditional—Saudi Arabia Less traditional – Egypt) Traditional Arab dress features the full length body cover (abayah, jilbob, or chador) and veil (hijab or chador). Concerns of modesty are the reason for the dress. The most devoted women cover their faces as well as the bodies in veils/robes. Rural women, who typically work in the fields, may wear less restrictive garments lighter in color and weight. Everything except FACE and HANDS
  10. 10. Modesty • Men and women should behave and dress modestly. • Emphasis on modesty encourages society to value individuals for their wisdom, skills and contribution to the community, rather than for physical attractiveness. Middle Eastern girls look up to images such as these in the media.
  11. 11. Scarf at School • The wearing of a head covering may lead to teasing by other students. • Teachers should prevent classmates from pulling on or removing a Muslim student's scarf. Hana Hamdi in front of Statue of Liberty. Virgin Mary wearing head covering
  12. 12. Physical Education • School administrators may discuss with students alternative clothing in physical education classes. • Alternatives could include knee-length shorts for boys and full track suits for girls. • Muslim boys and girls may not take same-sex communal after-sport showers • Without wearing appropriate covering of their bodies. Do you own one of these Fully Covered Bathing Suits?
  13. 13. To Eat or Not to Eat • The Qur'an (Islam's scripture) prohibits consumption of alcohol, pork, and any pork by-products or derivatives. Therefore, practicing Muslims are careful about the food they consume and how it is prepared. • Muslims follow certain standards— called Halal (permissible by Islamic law)—in slaughter and preparation of meat and poultry. Some objectionable food items include:
  14. 14. No Pork / Alcohol Products • Pepperoni, sausage, and hot dogs containing pork. • Pork Bacon—alone or in soups, salad, quiche, etc. • Animal shortening—in breads, puddings, cookies, cakes, donuts, etc. • Vegetable shortening is acceptable. • Gelatin—in Jello, desserts, candies, marshmallows, chocolates, etc. • Lard—in any product. • Food ingredients containing alcohol These Marshmallows are Kosher and can be eaten by Muslims, Skittles and Starburst have gelatin in them and cannot be eaten by Muslims.
  15. 15. Cafeteria Etiquette • School lunch items containing ingredients derived from pork must be highlighted clearly, especially in elementary schools. • For preschool and elementary food programs, many school cafeterias have been particularly helpful to • Muslim parents and students by labeling such foods with a prominent visual marker, such as a red dot or a picture of a pig, for beginning readers.
  16. 16. Muslim Holidays • Eid ul Fitr: • August 7, 2013 • End of 30 Day Fasting Month Called Ramadan • Fasting: Sunrise to Sunset • For all we are able • Eid Ul Udha: (Holiday of Abraham’s Sacrifice) Pilgrimage to Mecca • October 14, 2013 Kaaba, in Mecca Saudi Arabia is Islam's Holiest Site.
  17. 17. Accommodations 101 • This is my son, Mahmoud. • What types of Accommodations will be present in your ES, MS, or high school for Mahmoud? • Holidays • Ramadan Fast • Curricular • Social Etiquette • Food Mahmoud in DC in front of MLK Statue.
  18. 18. Holidays • Schedule exams and other major events around holidays. • Do not mark students absent. • They will visit family. Dr. Hozien at Dome of Rock, Jerusalem
  19. 19. Accommodations • Fasting: Allow students to study in the library or elsewhere during lunch. • Do not extend hand first for handshake with opposite sex. • Avoid touching when comforting students and parents of opposite sex. • • • • • Prayer Friday Prayer for Boys Curriculum Textbook Bias Sex Education
  20. 20. Questions? Comments? • Contact me at: • Isra, Mahmoud with two Virginia State University Graduate Students.