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Arab American Culture Presentation

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Kara Shidlofsky

on 5 December 2014

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Transcript of Arab American Culture Presentation

Arab American Culture
Alyssa Auch, Hannah Carroll, Alex Firestone, Krystal Garza, Kara Shidlofsky, & Sarah Vaky
Arab Americans work in all occupations.
Similar to the national average, about 64% of Arab American adults are in the labor force.
Management, professional, technical, sales or administrative fields.
Occupational Profile

Occupational Synthesis/Intervention
Occupation for Arnie: Traditional Arab dance called Dabke
Arab American Roots
is the most popular
followed and played sport
in the Middle East

Family Roles
is seen as “head of household”

plays important roles in socializing children, preserving kinship ties and maintaining social and religious traditions

are taught profound respect
American-style dating is virtually non-existent among most Arab Americans

Most Arabs still prefer arranged marriages but there are few that follow this tradition

(sharaf) is an important social aspect of the family. Under sharaf, the actions of an individual can bring shame to the entire family
Physical Contact
The public display of intimacy between men and women, including husband and wife, is looked negatively upon by the Arab social code

As a general rule women interact freely only with other women and very close male relatives.
Practices to Stay Well
Turquoise pendants are commonly worn to ward off the "evil eye."

People are particularly aware of the evil eye around children. When a person complements a child, care is taken to mention God in the compliment so as to exclude jealousy that might make the child ill.
Silver bracelets or anklets, most often trimmed with tiny bells, are the most popular choice for children. The sound of the bells would protect the young wearer from evil spirits, while also providing a source of amusement for a restless child.
Boys- generally given greater leniency than girls
Girls- expected to marry at a relatively young age (changing)
Justification for Dabke dance
-We chose the Dabke dance because of its traditional and cultural roots and also because it acts as an outlet for Arnie's high energy level.

-Participating in the Dabke would require:
Prolonged attention
Following instructions
Working with others

- Successfully performing this dance wouldallow Arnie to feel accomplished in his role as a member of his family and Arab culture.
Traditions & Beliefs
Who Administers Healing
Western Technological Medicine
Urban areas
Public health, health education and preventive measures are limited
Wealthy people pay high, extra fees

Traditional Healers
Rural Areas
Follow Unani or Greco-Islamic system
Adept practitioners referred to as hakim
Traditional bone setters
About Death & Dying
In Islam, death is compared to sleep
“The Little Brother of Death”
Quran warns people to understand mortality and about the inevitability of death
Prepare for death before it’s too late
Time in this life is seen as an opportunity to prepare for the next life and time is seen as wasted or dutifully invested
Death is seen as “one’s appointed time”

Muslims believe the dead can still hear what is going on, so a relative usually informs the deceased of the occurrences as they are happening.

-1. Who is your Lord?
Answer: Allah
-2. Who is your prophet? Answer: Muhammad
-3. What is your religion? Answer: Islam

Originate from 22 Arabic-speaking countries
Gulf countries
(Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates)
The Levant
(Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan)
North Africa
(Egypt, Tunis, Algeria, Morocco, Libya)

First wave came in 1880's
second wave during WWII

Main Languages:
Arabic, English, and French

Where are they now?
3 million Arab-Americans in the U.S.
Detroit, Michigan
LA, California
NY, New York
Chicago, Illinois

Arab Americans work in all sectors of society and are leaders in many professions and organizations.

Majority of Arab Americans are native-born.

U.S. census classifies Arabs as white, but many Arabs classify themselves as Other.

The majority of Arab Americans are Christian (63%), but the majority of Arabs worldwide are Muslim
Most Muslims are not Arabs (12-20%)

Arab American Muslims (24%)
Worship in mosques
Pray 5 times a day
Fasting during Ramadan

Women's Clothing
Men's Clothing
Abaya - black dress
Sheila - black scarf

Kaftan - formal dress


Kandoora – white dress
Ghutra – red and white head scarf
Egal – black ring around scarf
Hospitable – cooking, cleaning, hosting gatherings
Familial & friendly– strong social support
Hard-working - value educational and economic success
Little interaction between members of opposite genders
General Characteristics
Arnie Grape is an eighteen year old boy rooted in a traditional Arab-American community. He lives with his brother (Gilbert), two sisters (Ellen and Amy), and mother (Bonnie) in a house located in Endora, Iowa. Arnie's roles as a son and brother are often inhibited due to his developmental disability, which hinders certain ADLs and IADLs. His family is clearly his support system since he is very dependent on his them, especially his brother Gilbert, who cares for him and keeps him safe. He values his family and his interests include playing hide and seek, climbing the water tower as well as seeking new adventures.
-Have him learn more intricate steps
-Make the dance longer
-Have him demonstrate the dance solo
-Have him verbally explain the steps to another person
-Have him dance in front of a small audience
-Make the steps more simple
-Allow him to take breaks between parts of the dance
-Have an instructor demonstrate the steps in front of him as he performs the dance
Grade Up:
Grade Down:
Barriers to Health Care

Lack of Arabic or Farsi-speaking healthcare providers
Lack of on-call interpreters

Complex U.S. healthcare system
Involvement of male in female healthcare
Cross-gender relations
Arab women may prefer to work with a female healthcare provider
Arab men may prefer to work with a male healthcare provider
“Religion-blind” health policies
Non-Arab healthcare providers practice “cultural blindness”
Treat all patients the same; do not account for cultural difference
Prayer for Muslim men and women
Personal space
Doctor-client relations
Beliefs about time

Cultural Differences
Barriers cont.
Racial Profiling

Post-9/11 America Islamo-phobia
Stereotyping of Arab beliefs linking all Arabs to terrorists and religious extremists
Term “Muslim” is used very vaguely
Often merged with racial or ethnic groups rather than religious beliefs

Remember: Not all Muslims are Arab. Not all Arabs are Muslim. Very few Muslims identify with the views of the religious extremists responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Guidelines for Healthcare Providers
Do not make assumptions regarding religious or cultural beliefs
Ask questions regarding culturally-sensitive practice
Example: Do you have any preferences or religious beliefs I should be aware of?
Involve family members in entire treatment process
Hire Arabic or Farsi-speaking professionals or interpreters.
Consultants can also be useful for negotiating treatment plans
Respect cultural beliefs
Do not take offense to requests for changes in treatment plans
Understand scheduling restraints due to Islamic prayer times
Take the time to establish a trusting personal relationship with your client and his/her family
Additional Info
Council on American-Islamic Relations
A Health Care Provider’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

Healing & Remedies
Traditional medicine
Complementary Alternative Medicine
Essential oils
Topical, compresses, diffuse, ingest
Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine
Medicinal Herbs
Golden chamomile, milk thistle
Dietary Practices
Fasting, honey, black seed, zam zam water
Mind Body Therapy
Dhikr (chanting), prayer
Spiritual Healing
Prescribed prayers, nine lata
Applied Therapy
Massage, hydrotherapy, cupping

Healing in Arabic: Al-Sheffa’a
Separated by religious and national holidays.
Dependent upon which region one originates from, and which religion one practices
National Holidays
New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day
National Day (UAE) December 2nd

Religious Holidays
Christian Holidays

Jewish Holidays
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Yom Kippur
Health Beliefs

personal hygiene practices
healthy diet
modern western medicine
some people wear amulets for protection against the evil eye
prayers and reading from Al Quran or the Bible also helps give comfort to patients and family members and enhance recovery
Unani-balance keeps an individual in a healthy state


sudden fears
pretending to be ill to manipulate family
wrath of God, or God's will
Mental health care sought only in advanced stages of illness and only after all family and community resources are exhausted

Causes of Mental Illness
Wrath of God, God's will test of endurance

Mentally ill individuals believed to be able to control their illness

Some marry within family
Causes of
Genetic Defects
Disclosure an issue; prefer to "hide" genetically defective family members.
Genetic counseling may be refused as believed to defy God's will
Tend to care for children with genetic defects at home and shun institutionalized care.

Illness Beliefs
This variation depends on the culture, religious traditions and ceremonies.

Muslim wedding

Christian Wedding

a musical procession of bendir drums, bagpipes, horns, belly dancers and men carrying flaming swords.
This announces that the marriage is about to begin.

ZAFFE (wedding march)


Modern Levantine Arab folk dance circle
It is a mixture of circle dance and line dancing and it is widely performed at wedding and other joyous occasions


He successfully assists his brother in delivering groceries and appears to have no difficulty expressing his thoughts and emotions. Arnie has a prior history of getting into trouble for not following directions as well as saying inappropriate things, making people around him uncomfortable. Arnie is seeking occupational therapy to aid in following directions and to help him integrate within his culture. He wants to be able to participate in the Dabke dance with his other family members, which will ultimately increase his self-efficacy and support his engagement within the community.
Includes fasting from sun up to sun down/spiritual reflection
Purifies the body and soul
Evening meals are held with family or the community
Gargee’an (Khaleeji)
Eid al-Fitr (the Festival of Fast Breaking)
10th month of Islamic calendar
Celebrated following Ramadan
Pray and give gifts
: Islamic New Year (October)
: Pilgrimage to the Mecca (October)
12th month of the Islamic calendar
Chance to renew spiritual lives
(Festival of Sacrifice)
People visit family and friends
Show you are willing to make sacrifices for others
Held in conjunction with the Hajj
Religious Holidays Continued

evil eye
Imbalanced Unani –imbalance of hot and dry and cold and moist
stress in family
loss of person or objects
winds and drafts

Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2nd Edition (BOT-2)
Most widely used motor proficiency test
Efficient, includes game-like tasks to hold a client’s interest, and is not verbally complex to explain
Subtests include: bilateral coordination, balance, running speed & agility, upper-limb coordination, and strength
Muslim Holidays
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