Cultural Immersion Proposal
The society we live in is composed of people from different cultures and with different values and systems. Cultural immersion is considered as the act of surrounding oneself with the culture of a different group. Culture is the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, beliefs, arts, institutions and thought characteristics of a population or community (Hamdan, 2017). It is a set of shared beliefs, values, attitudes, and behavioral patterns of an organization or a group (Hammoud, White, & Fetters, 2005). I
n this project, I have chosen to focus on Islamic culture by visiting and interacting with them in the mosques located in my community, New York City. Like many other religions, Islam claims to be universally accommodating within its cultural folds. Islam is one of the religions that have a broad parameter of rules and regulations and one with unique culture and traditions.
There has always been a difference in opinion on whether Islam has its own distinct culture. But the social norms that are derived from Muslims are often reﬂected in the everyday lives of its followers and the society. New York City is one of the regions that have a very high population of Muslims in the US. The Muslim community has come under a lot of criticisms from non-Muslims particularly as a result of their connection with terrorism and terrorist groups, mostly in the wake of President Trump’s administration where many of them have been disenfranchised.
Most non-Muslims however do not know much about their culture. In this project I will visit Muslim gatherings in New York City to interact with them and observe their culture, beliefs, and behavioral patterns. I will contact a leader or any member of the Muslim community in the gatherings for an interview on how to effectively interact with the group or get a cultural guide to help access the group in a better way. I will engage with the individuals within the gathering setting on ﬁve different occasions.
During the interview with the leader or member of the group, I will focus on the culture of the Muslim community including some of their renowned beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors. Everyone knows that Muslims are one of the most strict religions across the globe. Well, I would wish to determine whether that is true and learn more about them.
During my interaction with the Muslims in their gathering places like Mosques, I will outline my reactions to my experience with them particularly on how they conduct themselves and their cultural activities, why they gather together, and what the gatherings means to them.
Many people can differentiate Muslims from other religions based on their code of dressing and possibly due to their sacred places of worship e.g. mosques. However, little is known about this religious group. Many people often talk about Muslims on topics that they have overhead in other people’s conversation – which may be rumors or unconﬁrmed descriptions. The Muslim community is not secretive about their culture and beliefs but they tend to be conservative.
It would be interesting to learn more about this religious group. In the context of counseling, I often meet people from different cultures and backgrounds and in order to offer quality services, it is important to understand the cultural beliefs and values of my clients. Muslims form a signiﬁcant number of clients that I handle every day. It is therefore essential to learn more about this group and use the experience I get from interacting with them to improve the quality of services I offer.
Hamdan, A. (2007). A case study of a Muslim client: Incorporating religious beliefs and practices. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 35(2), 92-100.
Hammoud, M. M., White, C. B., & Fetters, M. D. (2005). Opening cultural doors: Providing culturally sensitive healthcare to Arab American and American Muslim patients.
American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 193(4), 1307-1311.