When someone belongs to a particular group, whether it’s an ethnic or cultural group, if he or she believes in it or acts and behaves according to the group’s standards, this is a definition for Cultural identity. It’s not a problem to have a cultural identity; rather, it is great to have one. However, when that person gets confused about which culture he or she should belongs to then it’s a problem. In America, cultural identity problems are more because of the multi cultural community there. For example, there is the European, African, Hispanic, Asian, and the Arab-Americans.
Their mixture together made the complexity of the American culture that is enclosed by the American’s 14th amendment of the United States Constitution the Citizenship’s rights. The problem from that complexity appears to the recent immigrant’s children, who are actually live between two cultures, the culture they live at home and the culture outside it, when theirs head get all mixed up from what to choose between the two cultures. The big question is should the parents force their children to choose their original culture.
For instance, my friend, who is one of the Arab/American immigrants that represent 3,500,000 of the American population, came to me worrying about his three year old child life, Hyatt. He was asking himself what he would do if Hyatt came to him, after she got old enough, and told him that she decided to remove her Hijab, which is a cover that the Muslim women should wear to cover her head in front of the foreigners. As an Arabic American’s Muslim, this topic was the most concern for him because of two reasons.
One, it is against the religion. Two, it is a big shame in front of the relatives. 70% of the Arab Americans are Christians, 20% are Muslims, and the other 10% belong to other faiths. As a result of the conservative religious background, it’s really hard for parents to accept these kinds of their children’s decisions. I asked him “Should you force her not to do that? ” He answered right back with positive. I reminded him of American laws, and how it’s not for him to choose his child’s culture, so he rethought the question again.
He took a while to accept the idea. After that, he answered with a weak voice “I’ll try to convince her by talking to her. I’ll remind her by the heaven and hell. I’ll try my best to make her changes her mind…” You could hear how hateful the image of his daughter not wearing Hijab. It’s important for the Muslim women to wear Hijab, but when an American girl decides to do thing it’s her right to do whatever she wants regarding to her freedom of expressing herself. The father should know that is her right to do what she wants to do.
Moreover, he has to understand that they are living in America, so Hyatt naturally will contact with different cultures beside theirs. Because of that connection with other Americans, who come from various cultures, her limitation of thinking and choices will extend, so if Hyatt came to her father decided to remove her Hijab, then he has to keep his hands away from her. He said that he doesn’t want her to suffer in hell because of that. Removing Hijab is against Islamic roles, so who does it will take a share of the hell’s fire, regarding to the holly Quran and Sunnah, from which the Islamic roles are taken.
I kind of understand him as Muslim, but I have different believes about life … He was worried about what his brothers, cousins, and the else of the relatives will think about their family and how did the girl lost her original culture too. And, how bad he will look like in front of them because his girl turned over the original culture by taking off the Hijab? “I completely understand you,” I said, “but first of all, the United States of America is a country where anyone can find his freedom. For Hyatt, as an American born child, she will grow knowing that she has the
right to choose in which culture she wants to cope with. Therefore, it’s O. K if her father got worried about the thing that turned to an option for his daughter, which is the Hijab. However, that References Islam in Urban America by Garbi Schmidt, Page# 106 Muslim women in America: the challenge of Islamic Identity today by Yvonni Yazbeck, Page#36 www. arabamericanmuseum. org/arab+american+culture. id. 168. htm www. en. wikipeadia. org/wiki/culturalidentity. html www. arabamericanhistory. org www. usconsittiution. net