The University of Northwestern State in Shreveport
The Muslim American culture varies slightly from the rest of the Muslim population around the world. Muslim Americans view religion as less important than other Muslim groups, along with becoming more independent of the family as a whole. The majority of the Muslim American culture can be defined in several categories such as Bio-cultural variations and cultural aspects of the incidence of disease, communication, cultural affiliation, cultural sanctions and restrictions, developmental considerations, value placed on education, health beliefs and practices, family and kinship systems, nutrition, religious beliefs and practices, and values orientation.
Cultural competency is essential to bringing the highest quality care to diverse patients. According to Andrews and Boyle (as cited by the Office of Minority Health, 2001) cultural competency refers to “the ability of health care providers and organizations to understand and respond effectively to the cultural and linguistic needs of patients” (p. 213). Perhaps the most scrutinized and misunderstood culture group in the United States, due to recent tragic events and ongoing disputes between the United States and several Middle-East countries, is the Muslim culture; Andrews and Boyle (2012) point out that a follower of Islam is known as a Moslem or Muslim, and that the current North American population of Muslims is approximately 6-7 million people. It is unfortunate, but our society is quick to judge a book by its cover. In becoming more culturally competent, the stereotyping begins to diminish, which gives patients better quality care. Bio-cultural Variations and Cultural Aspects of the Incidence of Disease
There are a number of socioenvironmental conditions more common in the Muslim culture than in others. According to Loue (2011) there is an increasing rate of HIV/AIDS resulting from unprotected sexual intercourse among Muslims. Their religious views of jihad conflict with HIV prevention programs. The most prevalent issue among Muslim Americans is family violence. Gharaibeh (2009) finds that one out of every five married women has actually reported physical abuse from their husbands. This is the number of women that have reported abuse, not the number that have experienced physical violence and kept it to themselves. Emotional abuse and sexual abuse are also great issues that are more prevalent in Muslim Americans than other culture groups. Gharabeih (2009) admits that 50% of women believe that it is a man’s right to physically abuse rebellious women. Muslim Americans on average are darker in skin color, with dark hair, and dark eyes. There is a wide variability among American Muslims due to immigration from every country Muslims live in. Communication
There are so many races that make up the Muslim American population that language is often a barrier to an extent. A patient’s thick accent or a caregiver’s use of slang or idioms are a few issues that may arise from a verbal communication standpoint. In Muslim American females, there is a dilemma resulting from the veil worn to cover their face as the Qur’an decrees to be part of their modesty. There are many situations in which viewing the patient’s face is essential to notice their non-verbal cues and subtleties. Mistry, Bhugra, Chaleby, Khan, and Sauer (as cited by Mehrabian, 2009) observe that words only contribute about 7% of information in communication, tone of voice makes up about 38% of it, while body language is the most important, contributing to the rest of the percentage. This is proof that the language itself is not the biggest barrier, but often body language and tone of voice. Muslim Americans put emphasis on having a caregiver of the same gender due to modesty and their religion. Cultural affiliation
There are many negative views...