Some of you will have seen from the other thread (Call to Prayer Question) that I'm in a predominantly Muslim country at the moment. It is different to Ireland in a lot of ways. I see some of these differences as positive, some of them negative. I'm particularly interested in the views of Muslims who live in Ireland and who have travelled to the middle east or other predominantly Muslim countries.
What do you think are the positives and negatives that Western nations have versus the Middle East for example?
I'll start. I've been to quite a few Muslim countries now; Indonesia and several Middle Eastern nations (4 by my quick count). Total time spent in Muslim countries over my lifetime is around 4-5 months.
Overall when you look at peoples behaviour I consider the lack of alcohol a positive. I don't go into Dublin city centre any more at the weekend. To be honest it disgusts me. I do like a few drinks on a Friday evening but I can definitely appreciate the perception in Islam that the negatives outweigh the positives where alcohol is concerned. Having seen both sides of things I believe that overall alcohol causes more problems than it's worth in a society (this is coming from someone who likes to brew ).
Cleanliness is part of religion. In a hot country this is particularly important IMO. I'm not saying that people are dirty in the west before anyone tries to jump on that.
Lack of gambling: Definitely no harm here again. I like a bit of a gamble myself from time to time, but overall I think Muslim countries are better for it versus Western nations that allow it.
Personal freedom is obviously curtailed quite a bit. There are a few examples of this. Ladies being entirely covered doesn't sit well with my Western sensibilities, though I accept that my Western sensibilities aren't worth tuppence and I understand the reasoning behind it, I still consider this mostly a negative.
Some countries curtail internet access quite a bit (UAE doesn't allow Skype for example which I'm using extensively to call my wife and kids) and personal privacy which is held high in many Western nations means very little here - this last part isn't necessarily anything to do with Islam but it is a common theme I see in Muslim countries versus the West.
Less social interaction especially between men and women. Not sure if this perception is flawed or not. I acknowledge that it may just be lack of experience / lack of local knowledge but on the surface that seems to be the case.
I may come back with more. Friday prayer has started so I'm going to take the opportunity to go shopping before the malls get crazy.