Western Society in Arabic Society

Western Society in Arabic Society

by Adam Goodwin | 2014 | Last Updated: January 5, 2014

Westerner in Arabia

For a good chunk of December 2013, I will be spending my time and days on the continent of Africa.  The world’s most diverse continent.

The Veil

The veil is worn by many Muslim women.

I was speaking with someone about this.  Interesting.  As I was looking at the veil worn by women from the perspective and knowledge of a Westerner, instead of in the context of the Muslim world.

To me, a Westerner, the veil looks like something women are told to hide behind.  Speaking with Muslims, the veil is actually about accentuating their beauty.

We must learn to use our knowledge and beliefs in appropriate settings and contexts.

A valuable lesson.

The Music

Arabic music is beautiful. Musicians focus on rhythm and the beat compared to the more western style of harmony.


Whereas Western culture now focuses on individuality, Arabs have a much greater loyalty to their family. The family comes before self.

I think the group-centred mentality is showcased in their cuisine. In Canada, many go out for a meal and get a quick meal from a restaurant. This will consist of a burger and fries for me and the same for the friend. In most Arab communities, the focus isn’t on the fast and individual meal. It is focused on a larger platter of food that is shared.


Many Canadians see the world as being about developing themselves. Learning and improving oneself. A philosophy of serving oneself. This isn’t to say Muslims don’t also believe in learning. They focus more serving Allah (God) and following the teachings of the Qu’arn. There is much difference. Oneself versus something bigger.

I think this may sum up a lot. Western culture heavily focuses on the individual. Arab culture focuses on the family, community, and Allah.

A Call To Action

We must remember the paradigms in which we learn and absord information.  How are previous knowledge and ideas can get in our way of learning new information and broadening our perspective.

Further Reading

Based on your reading of this blog post, you may also be interested in reading: photos from Africa.


These are one person’s thoughts and opinions.  I welcome and strive to get your feedback and own thoughts. Feel free to comment below or connect with me via social media.

Adam Goodwin is a Canadian working in the United Kingdom, and is a proud shameless idealist. His parents currently work in Cairo, Egypt. He has siblings and distant family in Canada and around the rainbow nation’s only home. Follow his year+ overseas on Twitter (@adam13goodwin) and on this blog


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