Muslims, Arabs and Orientalism: We’re Confused! By Cristina Arra

muslim-womenThe difference between Muslims and Arabs; Muslims are a group of people who live by and teach the practices of the nation of Islam, a religious group with strong cultural beliefs, Arabs are a diverse group of people who migrated from Arabian countries, Schaefer, R, T. (2006). I think the confusion with the two are the looks, what the texts calls a blended identity (characteristic of Orientalism) many Muslim women because of their beliefs were clothing that covers their bodies the same as women in the Arab world. Muslim men wear kufis and long beards while Arabian men wear turbans and have facial hair as well. So this is where Orientalism came in to play. Since the physical aspect of both minority groups have not changed over time both minority groups have been categorized and labeled (those who will not conform).

Characteristics of Orientalism according to Schaefer, mosques, the temples in which Muslims worship “do not represent religious freedom and diversity” so basically because these people who will not conform to “modern Westernize” practices such as Christianity they will not be respected by many in the United States. While Christians and Muslims have similar religious views Christians are respected in the United States because they are the religious group that’s willing to change it views are the world and technology changes. While Muslims stick to their original plan, another characteristic of Orientalism.

After 911 many laws were past to “hype up” security in the “homeland” however the targets were the Muslim and Arabs. Many of the security stipulations and red flags came about after research was conducted on how Muslims and Arabs purchased tickets, days they traveled and things they carried on the aircraft etc. So if any other group of people followed that same pattern a red flag would be raised and they have to go through the scrutinizing behaviors practiced by airport security just to help create that we are not targeting a specific group facade anybody can be searched. That was not the case.

Things that can be done to promote tolerance and reduce prejudice is education. Why is that Americans paint this picture for immigrant to migrate to the United State and live and be free in the land of opportunity. Then when those people get here we expect them to change and conform to the American ways and behaviors. Many do lose their culture because they want to fit in and many are intimidated into conforming. For those who don’t we place them in categories and then ask for solutions on how we can make it better. Sounds like the answer is right there before our eyes. Stop pressuring people to change and learn to accept them and their culture or find somewhere else to live.

Schaefer, R, T. (2006). Racial and ethnic groups (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.


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