Many people do not quite get the difference between an Arab and Muslim. Some people believe that all Arabs are of the Muslim religion, which is contrary to the truth. The term Arab, however, refers to some people originating from a specific part of the world. Most of the people living in the Atlantic coast of the Northern Africa through to the Arabian Gulf refer to themselves as Arabs. They share a common language-Arabic, historical, cultural and geographic identity (Irani 1). Thus, the term is not a racial classification. This paper discusses the social identity of the Arab Muslims, bringing out their difference from the dominant Muslim culture.
Though they are currently spread all over the world, the Arabs origin and concentration is in 10 African countries (Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia) and 12 Asian countries (Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Oman). Their total population is about 230 million people. In respect to their religious beliefs, the Arabs are divided into Muslims, Jews or Christians. Majority of Arabs are Muslim (92%), while the Arab-Muslim makes up approximately 17% of the worldwide Islamic population.
Symbols and Behavior
The crescent is a significant symbol in the Arab world. All of the Arab countries’ flags contain a moon crescent. All mosques have the moon god symbol on their tops as well as other Islamic buildings or structures. The use of the moon god symbol in the Arab nations is a reflection of earlier years when all Arabs worshipped the moon. White is a color of peace and purity. Mosques are, also, painted white and green.
Most Arab men Muslims wear white robs especially when going for the Friday prayers. Women dress to cover up all their body, leaving only eyes uncovered. Indecency in dressing has serious consequences since many women have been killed in the Arab world for that. Even foreigners are subjected to the same rules when they visit the Arab countries, especially in Middle East.
Arabs take religion seriously and they cannot miss the daily prayers. They say five prayers per day. Businesses may be locked up over lunch hour prayers and during the days that mark religious functions.
Beliefs, Values and norms
Religion is the most basic value for every individual. Among the Arabs, there is freedom of religious practice. Religion provides peace, guidance, comfort, tranquility, and purpose in life. The Arab-Muslims, just like other Muslims, use the Quran for religious guidance and worship Allah. Secondly, life or the physical self is crucial; they value life, and attack against innocent people is a deadly sin. One who threatens others’ lives faces death punishment. Additionally, family life and offspring is much respected in the Arab world (Barakat 118). Even though politics have changed and the Arab world assumed state-governments, the family institution is still at the heart of the society. Many countries are still ruled by a few families. Men marry women and bring up their children in orderly homes. Wealth (AL Mal) is a fundamental human value (Barakat 133). Arabs value hard work and gaining wealth makes one respected in the society.
They pay serious attention to norms, which protects their basic values. Self-interest and self-sacrifice is one of them. The current economic world order of all businesses; whether kiosks or larger companies, is aimed at making profits. This is against the Islam concept of self-sacrifice (Akgunduz Ahmed 1). The Arabs believe that the secret of progress is reliant to self-sacrifice, and upholding the nation’s benefit over individual benefits. Every Arab should dedicate all his energy and efforts to the society he belongs to. Allah, in this world and the next, rewards these efforts. For instance, this is why we see many Arabs sacrificing to even commit acts of terrorism and even suicidal bombs.
Extravagance and frugality plays an important role in that society, because unlike the current economic world order where making profit is the main purpose for business, the Quranic model emphasizes on simplicity, modesty and frugality. They believe that living an extravagant or wasteful life, whereby one considers it as his or her right to use something because he or she has it, is wrong (Akgunduz 1). In the past, and even in today’s world, Islamic banks do not charge any interest on their customers since making profits in such a way is not right. In addition, Arabs believe that each individual is answerable for his own faults. They understand that it is right to sacrifice an individual for the good of the society or the nation. They can sacrifice anything for their country. This partly explains the emergence of crimes throughout history. Moreover, peace and forgiveness is highly valued; one of the ultimate goals of human life.
One of the main differences between Arab-Muslims and the dominant culture is that Arab Muslims do not execute Sharia law in a brutal manner as other Muslims do (Anheier, Helmut, and Yudhishthir 215). In countries like Sudan and Afghanistan the law is implemented in the most rigid and strictest criteria. In addition, Arab-Muslims are more adaptable to the Western culture and inter-state relations unlike the other Muslims. Most of the Arab countries have unity in the way they operate trade and other activities. For instance, GCC are rules for Middle East Arab countries listing various rules to be observed in those countries.Reconsidering the Declining Significance of Race: Racial Differences in Early Career Wages by Cancio Silvia, Evans David and Maume David, 1996.
The article Reconsidering the Declining Significance of Race: Racial Differences in Early Career Wages is an excerpt from the book "Being Black, Living in the Red". The article was published by the American Sociological Association and is archived at JSTOR. In the article, the authors seek to find the effect of liberalization of blacks on their economic development after the 1970s. This paper is a review of the article.
The article studies income patterns of the U.S. blacks between 1976 and 1985. The findings of this study were compared to those of Wilson. In his study, Wilson found out that in the 1970s, the earnings gap between the blacks and whites was closing up. He explained that this was a result of the 1960’s black’s revolution against racial discrimination whereby the governments passed legislation and rules to curb racial discrimination. This minimized segregation, leading to better employment opportunities for blacks. Consequently, their wages and salaries increased over that period. Therefore, Wilson explains that race is not a significant factor in determining the economic rewards among the Americans.
The current study conducts an exclusive review of Wilson’s work. In the review, the study establishes that Wilson’s work has been highly criticized, though less has been done to analyze his work empirically. Therefore, this triggered that authors’ urge to assess the temporal changes on the effect of race on what the workers earn during their early career stages. This study is very crucial for the U.S. government by reason of its progress in curbing racialism in the country.
The authors drew their samples from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) where they chose two samples; individual ages 25-33 in 1076 and in 1985. The respondents were strictly household heads or spouses. A total of 2337 and 3420 persons were identified for the 1976 and 1985 samples respectively. The total number excluded after considering various factors were 515 in 1976 and 676 in 1985. The final figure after elimination was 1563 for 1976 and 2249 for 1985. Hourly wage is the dependent variable while racial discrimination is the independent. The authors used educational credentials to operationalize the middle class classified as high school graduates and college attendants.
The results indicated that difference in earnings between white and black males increased between 1976 and 1985, but remained unchanged for women. For those with credentials, race did not affect their hourly wages. The study found out that the difference in evaluation of workers by the basis of their race increased between 196 and 1985. Contrary to Wilson’s assertion that government intervention into the labor markets helped to increase opportunities for the blacks, this study showed that the government neglect of the anti-discrimination policies reversed it. The study recommends other studies to establish whether these policies affect both black and white workers in their mid and late careers. They say that this is an important strategy to resolve this American dilemma. They assert that the government’s effort towards racial equality can only be achieved by the efforts of the policymakers, analysts and public.
Generally speaking, the study is well organized and executed. However, it fails to analyze the individual policies affecting the labor market. The authors heavily rely on the literature of the previous researchers in the same field. However, it would be impeccable to conduct the study on their own primary interviews to assess what policies affect the workers. Better explanations should be given as to how the policies affect the worker’s fate.
In conclusion, the article is a good reading for anyone who is interested in the social history and those who are concerned about improving the welfare of the American communities. Though it fails on policy analysis, the article holds vital information on sociology of the blacks and their history, and the effect of race on the economic status of individuals.