Thursday, February 16, 2006

Not very FAQ: Communicating with an Alien

Posted by Omar

Not very FAQ!

Or:

“Everything you always wanted to know about Muslims, Christians, Jews or Atheists but were afraid to ask…”

Each week a new question will be mailed to our list of Volunteers. They will be asked to try and answer the question as honest, clear and open-minded as they can. And in a hundred words or less. A digest of the responses will be posted here, waiting for your comments!

We hope to foster a platform where people from all continents, cultures and beliefs can gather to check, cross-check and hopefully dispel cultural stereotypes.

If you have any question you would like asked, please send us an email!
If you would like to be in the panel of Volunteers, who get to see the questions first, please add your name here.


Omar's Question

I was chosen to start the series, so here comes the first question:
As a Westerner, in the light of the latest events concerning the cartoons issue, do you see a difference between a Muslim, Arab, Middle-eastern, and Eastern in general?
And if you do, what do you think the difference is?


N=1 Answers
Good point. Actually, I realize that in my subconscious mind the definitions usually overlap without real distinction. Almost like difference between different words for ‘Rain’.
I have to think consciously to come up with definitions, and even then it is hard to get them clear…

Muslim: Follower of Islam faith
Arab: My mind immediately conjures up footage of an angry, shouting protester superimposed over my childhood image of guy on a camel riding in the desert. That older, almost romantic image takes some time and effort to recall.
Middle-east: Israel, Palestina, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq...
‘Eastern’ I associate with India and further east. Oriental.


Helena answers:
It is a good question but difficult to answer. Differences exist because of different cultures and different kind of regimes. A muslim is, and I quote Nico: "a follower of Islam faith".
In every country you can find muslims. And arabs can be muslims to. Some arabs are agressive, some (most arabs) not. Some moslims are agressive, most however not. I think differences are existing because of different regimes: non-democratic, indoctrination, no access to education, housing, food and so on.


Sara answers
Muslim: Somebody who follows the Islamic Faith as Nico said. It doesn't matter what part of the world he/she is from.

Arab: Somebody who is from any Arab country. Starting from the Arabian Penensula all the way to Northern Africa. Not all Arabs are Muslim. There are Christian Arabs, Athiest Arabs, free thinker, and even Jewsih Arabs.

Middle East: It's a region in this world that includes countries from the Gulf and the countries Nico mentioned.

The East that is another region in this world that is further east from the Middle East. Countries like India, Bangladish, Pakistan, Afghanistan, are part of the east... There is also the far east where there is China, Japan and other countries.. Then there is South East Asia, which is Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries.


transferred from the old volkskrant blog by Omar

Francis answers:
Hallo Omar,
Welcome here!!
I saw your weblog.
This is a difficult one to ask

I can not answer that question
When I say Muslim, I imagina a family, in the Netherlands, people who just think a bit differently
than I do.
The Violence of terrrorists and say is their way ,
are different people far away

But I see also the face of the man who killed the Dutch cineast van Gogh brutally.


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