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Cultural Differences between Middle East and United States

There is a diverse cultural difference between Middle East and United States which are mostly based on religion, geographic location and beliefs. Middle East countries are the historical origin for Christianity, Judaism and Islam. However, Islam is the most dominant religion in the region. The region is known for its conservative religious nature, though this has continued to change in the recent periods. Relationships, gender roles, mode of dressing and some economic trends are mainly dictated their religion. United States on the other hand is a Christian dominated country with both conservatives and liberal believers.  Other religions like Islam and Buddhists are available in the U.S and the American people has the freedom of worship which has really led to many believes. Religion in the U.S is accommodative and secular in nature unlike in the Middle East. The American women are also actively involved in politics and other leadership opportunities unlike in the Middle East where women are historically subjected to some restrictions of their rights. Although majority like this gender discrimination to the Islamic religion, religious supporters have always tended to differ from it. According to them, Quran urge equal treatment for all regardless of their gender (Firmage, Weiss & Welch 202).

 The cultural differences therefore emanates from people’s tradition. It is because of these cultural differences that the Middle East men are fully responsible for supporting their families and are therefore required to their education to keep up with their roles. Women are on the other hand supposed to take care of the house and children. They therefore have a significantly low economic contribution compared to the U.S and other Western countries. But women in the U.S are equally bestowed with equal education, economic and political responsibilities with men. So many women have ventured into politics and businesses as the U.S family tends to be a partnership relationship.

Women in majority of the Middle East countries are required to fully cover their body with abayas and a veil. This has however raised a lot of controversies both in the Islamic countries and in the western countries (Nydell 45). Majority of the Middle East countries such as Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Syria abolished the mandatory use of veil, but some like Saudi Arabia still force their women to adhere to their traditional dress code. To them this is a sign of prestige and adherence affirms their faith as it was set as an example by Mohammed and his wives.

On the other hand, women in the United States are free to wear and dress as they wish depending on the climate, taste and their preferences. Life in the U.S also tends to be individualistic; it focuses more on personal wants, dreams and aspirations. People tend to respect those who respect them and there are no special reverence for parents and elders (Shell 106). There are no strong family ties in the U.S and mostly no one seeks family’s approval while deciding on their lives as people believe in the freedom for individual affairs. This is however not the case in the Middle East where there is a strong bonding between family members. Family is a very important unit and members tend to spend more time together by maintaining regular visits or regular communications. Major life decisions in the Middle East communities such as marriage are done by the family. There is also that special reverence for parents and elders (Tehrani Para3 &4).

In order to bridge these cultural differences, both the Americans and the Middle East people should learn to appreciate one another’s culture and traditions. They should also engage themselves in some cultural exchange programs as this can increase acceptance.

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