Building Awareness of a Modern, Muslim Community: Christie Eppler PhD
The goal of this project was to gain knowledge and awareness of modern, Middle Eastern and Muslim culture through education and lived experience. Project was funded by the Henry Luce Grant for Interreligious programming and dialogue. Dubai: March 12-19, 2012
LISTEN, QUESTION, AND CREATE: A PASTORAL COUNSELOR’S ENCOUNTER IN DUBAI Christie Eppler, Ph.D *all photos taken with permission Markuly, Wilson Bridges, and Olive (2010) advocated that interreligious dialogue requires a “sophisticated ability to listen to others, to question one’s own assumptions, to create an ethos of mutual trust, and to achieve a level of communication that arises from the habit of testing each other’s assumptions together.” Dubai: A Phenomenological Encounter of Culture and Tradition The goal of this project was for me to gain knowledge and awareness of modern, Middle Eastern and Islamic culture through education and a lived experience. ………Listen What Propels Us? Dubai: Two Brothers Inclusion History Exclusion Modernity Desalinated H2O Desert Two Brothers + ~150 nationalities are represented in Dubai. Immigrants expressed gratitude for safe community A Pakistani told me he liked living with Filipinos because they are full of peace A woman from Buenos Aires left her home because she did not feel safe. After not seeing daylight working on cruise ships, she signed up for a year of working in Dubai. She will face steep fines if she leaves before her year is complete And, some expressed distain for a pro-Western, consumer culture Perceptions Regarding Citizens Perceptions Regarding Immigrants Afforded free education, health care Receive monthly stipend for each number child Receive housing if they have X number of children Encouraged to marry (via arranged marriage) other Emirati (wedding expenses covered) Even if born in Dubai cannot become citizens Pay 70% in taxes Many sign year-long work contracts. Must pay for travel, room/board if they leave before the year Many immigrants see indicate they are the “workers” while UAE citizens have posh government jobs. “Tourist only see Emirati at passport control and at the mall”, said one man who worked in Dubai. Two Brothers Two Brothers Dubai Mall was “bailed out” in 2009 by the Abu Dhabi’s Sheik. Soon after, signs on malls’ entrances indicated promotion of traditional values: conservative dress, no public display of affection, etc. ……Question Spiritual Gifts in Dubai Awareness of Holy Beliefs & Meaning Hospitality Faith Gratefulness Pillars Growth Ritual & Practice Community & Relationships Authority & Guidance Hospitality Create…… ECOMAP Pick a Spiritual/Islamic Word and Connect Spheres to indicate what gives you energy and what draws your energy away Brings in Others Vibrant, Modern e.g., Hospitality Increase focus on Materialism Potential to Dilute Traditions Questions For Community, For Self: How does hospitality give life? Inhibit life? How can I/we create balance in our spheres? Pastoral Counseling: Listening, Questioning and Creating with Individuals, Families, and Communities Pastoral Counselors Professionally Integrate Psychotherapy and Spirituality (www.AAPC.org) Pastoral Counselors must have knowledge of other cultural traditions and spiritual practices in order to assist clients to develop and use the clients’ own faith practices when striving for wholeness and growth Listening, Questioning, Creating Staying Present Being Clear Listening Being Open Thank You!