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An European and Islamic countries V.

Published: 8.2.2008
In an environment which is completely different from our milieu we know, we can often feel perplexed, even in banal reality. We are surprised as we have opposite information available, and we have to follow our own impression. As far as the islamic countries are concerned, we can hear or read, before our departure, "guaranteed news", and the truth is completely different.

Frankly speaking, it is not necessary to enter into troubles, due to our ignorance or quick temper.

GENERAL PERFORMANCE

The same thing applies to an European in Islamic country, as in any country abroad as well as in unknown environment. This rule is as follows: do not attract the attention to your personality!  We cannot be of an opinion that everybody would be curious to know us. Well, the simpliest way is – to follow the performance and manners of people surrounding us and adapt to it.

You recognize very soon that the people in Islamic countries are very friendly in caffées (it is valid for caffee in Morocco as well as for Usbekhistan) or, in case, if the European, speaking English, meets somebody who speaks English, too (or Russian in Usbekhistan or Tadjikistan). This is very good opportunity for a conversation, so we do not avoid this chance for a talk. especially when our partners have a knowledge of foreign languages. The talks could be kept in friendly but not obligatory level, and could not be mentioned the subjects, such as religion, politics, terrorism, etc.

All this is valid for men. As far as women in Islamic country (especially in Arabic Peninsula) are concerned, the behaviour would be rather different. Women cannot enter into men conversation and talks. It could happen, however, that domestic person will behave as if the women were not present at all (this fact does not come in question in such countries as Morocco, Tunis, Egypt, Turkey or Usbekhistan) The situation could happen probably in Liban or Yemen, but, for sure, you meet this phenomenon in Saudi Arabia and Iran. You cannot take this as planned insulted behaviour, on the contrary, as local custom.

DRESSING

This theme seems to be quite important, especially for tourists who are dressed on beaches in some of North-Africa countries or Yemen as they are accustomed. The same is valid for hotels, etc. The same rules are valid, as far as behaviour in these spaces is concerned. Anyway, you have to respect certain level of  local customes.

It does not matter that women  would  have scarves. Attention, however, you cannot walk in streets in shorts and with low-necked. You cannot allow it even in countries, tolerant to tourists, as it is in Morocco, Tunis or Egypt. Also in Turkey, this  dress will be too much. It is truth, men have their rule easier, they can take long linen-trousers and a shirt.

Provided  a man does not wish to attract unneccessary attention, he would not take golden jewels with to Islamic country: Koran orders that men can have silver rings only. Golden jewels mean (not in case of a woman) the declaration of disproportional wealth. A heavy golden chain round the neck – or great golden rings – do not act good in public. However, it is truth that many rich Moslems did not and do not follow the order of this suitability (dead King of Saudi Arabia allegly lost six million of dollars in casino within one night in Monte Carlo, moreover, luxury Rolls-Royce cars of wealthy sheikhs  as well as  a luxury in Kuwait are famous). This is another question. Standard European person meets on market or in street  and caffee always standard Moslem only.

QUESTION OF ALCOHOL

We know that Koran prohibits to all believers drinking of alcohol beverages. So, it means, that alcoholic drinks we cannot order in any Islamic country (exceptions exist in Turkey). It is a fact that many Moslems order, during their flight to Europe (provided they do not travel with air-plane of Islamic country) order double whisky, we do not worry. However, we have to take into consideration that we cannot buy even normal bottle of beer. Attention, in this case we are not entitled to take with our luggage full of plum-brandy (probably we have troubles with customs) but we have to abstain from alcoholic drinks.

In most Islamic countries, you can find in luxury hotels special bars for visitors from abroad. Here, there is an offer of terribly expensive alcoholic drinks, and if you do not resist, you have to follow a standard level of drinking. Attention – your appearance in public, owing to your dead drunk situation, could have very unpleasant consequences: it depends on a chance if this tresspass would be accepted. Provided the police put you in prison, this would  cause enormous unpleasant consequences.

 

SEXUAL QUESTIONS

If the European person would like to  make so called „sexual tourist plays“ (it is in many exotic countries the question of fashion – however, quite dangerous to the health), he does not choose for sure any Islamic country. If so, his activity must be strictly limited on members of tour-group only. He has absolutely no chance to meet local women  (exceptions are in Turkey).

Moslem-women do not appear at all in an environment where it would be a hope to start some sexual plays. Anyway, it exists an exception, and it is Turkey and some localities in North Africa. It is an offer of an opportunity. This could seem as a prostitution or coincidence or chance or an interest of local woman in exotic foreigner. Whatever this situation seems, its backround is quite simple.

European´s hope for sexual plays appears always on deserted or dark place or in snug corner in night club. Two or three well-developed men are hidden nearby, and are ready to protect the honour of their sister, which could be violented by a foreigner. These protectors of sister´s honour call loudly a police for help - these have to be taken very seriously!  An European person is glad that he has to pay money for his adventure and in the letter case, he can be even injured.

Text: Jan Chaloupka

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