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Muslim customs & courtesy question

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
OK, let me start by saying I hope that I am posting in the right place and that this isn't going to offend anyone. I feel a little silly, but here goes...

My DD has recently made a new neighborhood friend who is now playing in our home regularly. I am assuming by the fact that the children in the family attend an Islamic private school, the mother teaches there and that the mom wears a hijab and long skirt/sleeves that the family is Muslim. And given the school choice, I assume relatively observant.

This is new to me and I want to make sure I don't do, say or offer anything that will make this little girl or her family uncomfortable. If the child were observant Jewish, I would know the "rules" (having worked at a Jewish social service agency for a bit). But I confess that being Episcopalian doesn't give me any insight into the Muslim world.

Can someone please enlighten me into anything I should be aware of or careful about? Thanks!
post #2 of 8
Um ... don't give the kid bacon or booze?

Really, the Muslim world is a diverse place. There are a lot of ways of being observant, and a lot of cultural practices that pass for observance, just because culture and doctrine have always been and will always be mingled. Where this family falls on that spectrum, who knows. And even with all that diversity in place .... there's still not a lot that comes to mind. Maybe stick to vegetarian meals and snacks if she's eating at your house, or just ask her parents (or her, depending on the ages involved) about whether they only eat halal or just what they prefer, and otherwise ... she's just a kid. Don't sweat it.
post #3 of 8
ave you met her mom? I would probably introduce yourself and let her know you want to respect any religious convictions they have and ask her if there is anything you could do in that regard while her daughter is at your house.
post #4 of 8
I am not Moslem but have spent considerable time in several countries that are predominately Moslem. As liquese said the Muslim world really IS a diverse place, just as in Christianity Southern Baptist, United Church and Catholic are all very different. I would be inclined to say just avoid the obvious, don't serve the girl pork or expose her to nudity but I don’t think you have to bend over backward to do anything different. I think it would mean a lot to the family if you let them know you are happy to have their daughter as your daughter’s friend.
Hopefully some of the Muslim mamas on this forum will be able to give you more feedback.
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DahliaRW View Post
ave you met her mom? I would probably introduce yourself and let her know you want to respect any religious convictions they have and ask her if there is anything you could do in that regard while her daughter is at your house.
This. I would just mention that you enjoy having your kids play together and that you don't want to accidentally offend and would like to know more about their beliefs.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DahliaRW View Post
ave you met her mom? I would probably introduce yourself and let her know you want to respect any religious convictions they have and ask her if there is anything you could do in that regard while her daughter is at your house.
I have gone down and introduced myself to the mom (that was a whole different thread, in parenthood). I think I am going to have to figure out how to go back (or call her since I now have a phone number) and ask about her daughter playing here when my DH is around -- yesterday she told me she isn't allowed in the house when DH is here, which is most of the time on weekends and really upset my DD that her friend couldn't come in to play.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
I have gone down and introduced myself to the mom (that was a whole different thread, in parenthood). I think I am going to have to figure out how to go back (or call her since I now have a phone number) and ask about her daughter playing here when my DH is around -- yesterday she told me she isn't allowed in the house when DH is here, which is most of the time on weekends and really upset my DD that her friend couldn't come in to play.
That's really not a religious thing.

ETA: To be honest I'm a little leery of questions like this, explicitly due to the variety of practices and cultures and just personal convictions that get mixed together. Good intentions can turn unintentionally insulting when, for example, a person takes something like "oh, girls aren't allowed in houses where there are non-relative men present" as a broader Muslim custom and then tries to apply that knowledge to other Muslims. KWIM? Honestly your best bet, probably, is just to treat the family, parents and child alike, as you would any other family ... if they have particular preferences or concerns, as with the example you gave, they'll let you know.
post #8 of 8
Most of the the Muslim families that attend Islamic centers in my area are pretty conservative about separating women and men. And we do consider it a religious thing. Like for example if we are visiting a woman friend and her husband is going to come home, we leave before he comes. Or if we have a husband and wife visit us together they are in completely different rooms and enter separately so the men and women never see each other. Not that we think it would be forbidden if they did, we just feel more comfortable if they don't. So following that logic the same would be expected of a daughter of a certain age.

How old is she?
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