In what ways is Western culture superior to Islamic culture?
There has always been a clash between Eastern and Western culture. It would not be fair to argue that one culture is superior to another. This paper will explore the differences of each side of the argument. Western culture is defined as “a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies that have some origin or association with Europe” (Western Culture, Science Daily, 2015).
Islamic culture can be described as the “belief in the oneness of God (Allah): Islam enjoins faith in the oneness and sovereignty of God, which makes people aware of the meaningfulness of the universe and of their place in it” (Government of Western Australia, 2015). As you can see, by these two descriptions, there is more of a religious aspect in the culture of Islam than there is in Western culture.
I would argue that is not the variations of each culture the tension; but more of the traditions within each culture. From living in Western society it can be observed on a daily basis as a culture that promotes individuality and freedom to choose the way in which you live your life (i.e. religion, sexual orientation, etc). Whereas, in the culture of Islam there is little variation in the way you are to live your life and are dedicated to serving Allah (God) in every aspect of your life. In Islam some practices include: no alcohol, halal food, and ritualistic fasting. (Government of Western Australia, 2015). This has caused friction between the cultures as Western culture views their society as oppressive and restrictive and Eastern cultures view the West as opulent and overly-indulgent.
The friction can be seen in the news today, specifically, in a Canadian context of the Syrian Refugees. There is much debate as to whether or not people with such dramatic cultural differences should be allowed to enter our borders, “Our lip service to multiculturalism is about a mile wide and an inch deep. We believe that people who come here are entitled to wear and eat and pray to whatever god they want. But in everything that matters, we expect them to behave like us.” (Wente M., The Globe and Mail, 2015). Showing that Westerners are tolerant of others as long as they conform to our standards and behave like us.
In conclusion, there will always be differences between Eastern and Western culture that cause friction, but neither culture is superior to.
Government of Western Australia (June, 2015). Culture and Religion Information Sheet: Islam. Retrieved from http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/resources/publications/cr_diversity/islam.pdf
Science Daily (2015) Western Culture. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/western_culture.htm
Wente M. (December 17th, 2015) We Embrace Our Syrian Refugees — for Now. The Globe and Mail Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/we-embrace-our-syrian-refugees-for-now/article27791333/
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