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Afghanistan Religion

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By montanarayner
Words 3234
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Intercultural communication - Afghanistan
Section 1: group’s identity, history and cultural traditions (500 words)
Culture
For thousands of years in Afghanistan the country has been invaded, civil wars and terrorist activities. The country has been overturned destroying much of the countries culture and tradition. The culture and way of life in Afghanistan has changed over the years leaving it with no other way to define it. There are many more differences than there are similarities throughout the country. Nearly all of the people are Muslim and this is probably the greatest similarity amongst them. Loyalty within the local tribes is a major issue, but even this is not true among all of the people.

Today less than a quarter of the Afghanis are urbanized and over three quarters make a living in agriculture. The way of life is still reliant on the land and on community. For many of these farmers life revolves around the sunlight, weather, seasons, and also religion, which holds an important place in the lives of most people. The weekly and daily schedule is often dictated by the above mentioned items and there is little discretionary income to take time off of work, to travel, or to spend money on items they want.

Although farmers grow a huge number of crops, one of the easiest to grow in the country is opium, which is easy to sell and makes good money on relative terms. This has led to some outside groups to fight this industry, but for many people this is a traditional crop that has been grown for generations and is one that is sure to make money and support the people's livelihood.

In cities, such as Kabul, the culture and way of life is slowly changing. There are a very limited number of jobs in the industrial sector and a few in the services sectors. Some of these jobs have more regular hours and the weekly and daily schedule is more dependent on working hours than on the weather or seasons. In the few places working hours are regular the work day tends to run from about 9:00 am to about 4:00 pm. The work week is generally Saturday to Thursday morning, with Thursday afternoons and Fridays off of work as Friday is Islam's holy day.

No matter the occupation, wages in Afghanistan remain low and many people struggle to survive from year to year. Due to this situation, it is common to again turn to family, friends, neighbours, and the local tribal affiliation for support. These community residents truly support each other and this support and trust in community is always at the core of the culture and way of life.
Schools also provide some form of schedule in people's lives, but regulated schooling and national-level education is a relatively new concept in Afghanistan as the number of children attending schools is slowly increasing. Sadly, some schools are targeted by radical groups, particularly the schools that educate girls. Many families are hesitant to send their children to schools with the amount of attacks, especially their daughters due to the attacks, poor facilities, and the lack of female teachers (some people feel uncomfortable having a male teacher teach the daughters)
Identity
It is rare to consider you identity in Afghanistan as "Afghan." Most people in the country identify themselves by their ethnicity, which includes Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and many others. These ethnic-based identities are attached to not only an ethnicity, but also a language, culture, food, and a religion. Among many of their groups it seems that the only similarity across the people is that they are all basically Muslims. With every group being different from the next and the lack of national identity, this has led the country to have many different types of identity, except the majority of the country’s belief is Pashtun.

History of Afghanistan
Afghanistan, the place often known as the crossroads of Central Asia. For tens of thousands of years people have lived in Afghanistan, working as farmers, hunters, and gatherers. Many of the people who settled in the country were related to the people of the Indus Valley. In 331 and 327BC, Alexandra the Great took over much of the region, overtaking the Persian leaders of the time. Despite Alexander's death and the collapse of his empire, the descendent rulers in the Afghanistan region ruled for the next couple of centuries.
Many years later the Taliban began their attack on the country in 1995 and in 1996 had taken power with foreign support. Under their rule, the country's name changed once again, this time to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Taliban began willing to murder any detractor and over time became more violent as they implemented numerous laws banning the education of women and not allowing women to leave their home without a male family member accompanying them.

Historic Diet
Despite the mountainous landscape, Afghanistan is also home to numerous valleys and lowlands that are the grateful recipient of rains, rivers, and fertile soils, which make much of the country quite ideal when it comes to food. For much of the time these foods and the animals that they attracted have made up the historic diet of the earliest settlers.
Fruits and vegetables are available throughout the country; however the styles in each region vary. Some of the more historic foods found in the region include onions, garlic, pomegranate, apricot, berries, pistachios, walnuts, coriander, and saffron among others. The fertile landscape also encourages animals and again these animals have been an important part of the people's historic diet. Sheep, chicken, and horses are all present in the region and these animals have provided meat as well as dairy products to the people. Due to being a landlocked country, there is very little fish found in Afghanistan, although many lakes and rivers provided fish for the nearby people.

Staple Foods
Khameerbob: a cooked dough that's sort of a combination between dumplings and pasta
Naan: thin oval-shaped bread served with most meals; sometimes topped with seeds
Rice: served as a base in many dishes and is prepared in numerous ways

Regional Variations, Specialties, & Unique Dishes
Ashak: dumplings filled with leeks topped with garlic and yogurt
Kebab: generally seasoned lamb meat served in naan with rice
Mantu: dumplings with onions and beef topped with a tomato sauce and yogurt
Palao/Pilaf: dozens of varieties exist, but the national dish is qabili palao, which is a rice-based meat, carrot, pistachio, and raisin dish
Qorma: onion-based stews, usually with meat; again numerous styles exist

Dining Etiquette
When eating in Afghanistan, remember that you are in a Muslim country and with that comes rules you must know and follow. First, dress on the conservatively side. Second, in homes and most restaurants, it is not acceptable to eat with a person of the opposite sex unless it is your child, sibling, or spouse. To many Muslims this is important so observe the local restaurant's rules and follow their lead. This may mean that if you are with someone of the opposite sex who is not in your family (a co-worker for example), you shouldn't eat together. If you get by those first rules, try to arrive on time for a meal and if eating in a local's home remove your shoes at the door if others have done so. Greet the elders first, but men should not touch the hand of a woman (as this is considered inappropriate), although you should greet and acknowledge everyone. Let your host seat you and when sitting be sure to keep your feet flat on the floor or pointed behind you as pointing the soles of your feet at another can be offensive; you may be asked to sit on the floor around the dastarkhan. Once sitting, someone should come around with a wash basin so you can wash your hands prior to eating. Once the food begins to arrive the more special foods will likely be placed near you as you are the guest, something you may not notice if you don't know the local foods. Be sure to try these foods as these are the dishes your host is most proud of and placing them near you is to ensure you have easy access to them. Your host will likely insist you eat certain dishes as well, but try to take a small amount of food at first as you will later be offered more food and you should accept. Also, many times all dishes are brought out at the same time, but avoid taking desserts or fruits with your entree as these foods are reserved for after the main meal. Eat as the locals eat; in some settings this means eating directly with your right hand only, but in other settings you may be offered dining utensils. As you finish your food, and your second helping of food, leave a bit on your plate to show there was more than enough then place your fork and knife together. You may be offered tea prior to dessert and tea again prior to fruits, which usually ends a large meal. After everyone gets up from the table, you should again follow the lead of others and wash your hands once more, which again may come from a water basin passed around the table or you may be asked to use a faucet.

Dining in a restaurant with local Afghans is somewhat unusual as the locals rarely eat out and in most areas there are no restaurants so dining is always at home. More likely, if meeting a local out, you'll do so for tea at a teahouse. Either way, there will most likely be no service charge on your bill so be sure to add about 5% for a tip to the server.

Celebrations & Events
Afghanistan has a huge number of celebrations that are tied to foods, both religious and secular events. Two of the most important are Eid al Fitr, which is a celebration that occurs immediately after Ramadan, a religious holiday that requires fasting for 30 days. Eid al Fitr is celebrated with numerous filling and more expensive dishes eaten, often containing meat, to celebrate the end of the long fast. However what makes this celebration even more loved is the heavy use of sweets in the celebration. The second major religious food celebration in Afghanistan is Eid e Qurban, which is only celebrated after a pilgrim returns from haj, the mandatory journey for every able Muslim to go to Mecca. During this celebration an animal is usually sacrificed, usually a sheep or goat. Additionally, desserts, nuts, and tea are essential items.

Drinks
In Afghanistan the drink everyone seems drawn to is tea as the people drink it throughout the day every day. Dugh, rose-flavoured yogurt with salt, is a more traditional drink, but less popular than tea. If you are seeking something you're more used to, there are plenty of options as soft drinks, juices, and coffee are available in most cities and even in some less travelled areas. As a primarily Muslim country, Afghanistan has no alcohol available and it is illegal to consume in the country. The tap water in Afghanistan should not be consumed. Be sure to also avoid anything with ice as it may have been made from the tap water. Salads and fruits could have also been washed in the tap water so be careful with those foods as well.

Section 2: potential intercultural misunderstanding between Afghanistan and Australia (250 words)
If you use hand gestures like thumbs up or down for meals or question Afghans find it extremely rude so it’s best off keeping your hands to yourself.
Australians will find that Afghan culture is very different to the culture in Australia. The biggest misunderstanding between Australians and Afghans are that Afghans a very strict with the clothing chooses. Afghans make sure that nearly all of the body is covered, the women they usually wear the traditional female dress Firaq partug, with solid-coloured trousers, and a long kamis shirt with a belt. Sometimes they will wear a burqa or a chador
(which is a head scarf) over the outfit. The traditional male outfit is usually the Khet partug or the perahan wa tunban. They also usually wear a kufi as that is their traditional headgear.
Another major intercultural misunderstanding between Australian and Afghanistan is that it is not acceptable to eat with a person of the opposite gender, unless it is your sibling, child or partner. This means that you cannot eat with someone of the opposite gender who is not apart of your family (a co-worker for example). When arriving at a guest house always greet the elders first but make sure not to touch the hand of a female if you are a male as this is considered inappropriate. Before eating the guest may bring around a wash basin so you can wash your hands prior to eating. Be sure to try all the foods that the guest has given you has these meals are considered their favourite meals. You may only eat with your right hand as using your left is considered bad manners or may show signs to the guest that you do not enjoy their food. After eating the guest will bring around the wash basin again so you can wash your hands after eating.
Section 3: strategies for dealing with intercultural misunderstanding between the 2 groups (250 words)
Section 4: annotated resource list that evaluates the value of each of the secondary resources you use
Bibliography - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_groups_in_Afghanistan http://afghanistan.saarctourism.org/ethnic-groups.html http://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/14256/AF http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashtuns http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_groups_in_Afghanistan#Pashtun http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Pashtun_people http://www.safaritheglobe.com/afghanistan/culture/ http://www.everyculture.com/A-Bo/Afghanistan.html http://www.hilalplaza.com/islamic-culture/afghanistan/afghanistan_muslim_culture.html http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/afghanistan.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_clothing Other facts: * Location: Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran. * Capital: Kabul * Climate: arid to semiarid: cold winters and hot summers * Population: 29,928,987 (July 2005) * Ethnic make-up: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%. * Religion: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi’a Muslim 19%, other 1% * Language in Afghanistan: Pashtu and Dari (Afghan Persian/Farsi) are the official languages of Afghanistan. Pashtu (also written Pushtu) was declared the National Language of the country during the beginning of Zahir Shah's reign; however, Dari has always been used for business and government transactions. Both belong to the Indo-European group of languages. According to estimates, approximately 35% of the Afghan population speaks Pashtu, and about 50% speaks Dari. Turkic languages (Uzbek and Turkmen) are spoken by about 11% of the population. There are also numerous other languages spoken in the country (Baluchi, Pashai, Nuristani, etc.), and bilingualism is very common.

Other facts about Afghanistan:
Afghan Culture and Society
(Islam)
* Muslims are to pray at least 5 times a day – at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. * Friday is the Muslim holy day. Most shops and offices will be closed. * During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting included no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. * Foreigners are not required to fast; however, they must not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public.
(The family) * The family is the single most important unit in the Afghan culture. * Men and women's roles are much more defined along traditional lines. * Women are generally responsible for household duties, whereas men will be the bread winners. In the cities professional women do exist. * Families commonly arrange marriages for their children. Factors such as tribe, status, network, and wealth are the major factors forming any choice. * Families traditionally live together in the same walled compound, known as the kala. When a son gets married he and his wife begin their married lives in a room under the same roof. * As with much of the Muslim world, the family is sacred and as such, is highly protected. As a result, probing about the family is not advised.
(Concepts of honour and shame) * Honour in Afghan culture defines the reputation and worth of an individual, as well as those they are associated with. * The head male of a family is responsible for protecting the honour of the family. The issue of honour drives much of the behaviour surrounding the protection of women, modes of dress, social interaction, education and economic activity. * If someone's honour has been compromised, they are shamed and will look for a way to exact revenge for themselves, their family or group. * The role of honour and tribalism has fuelled much of the disharmony in the country's recent history - with one group carrying out violent acts against another, the victims are forced to respond causing a circle of violence.
(The role of hospitality) * Hospitality is an essential aspect of Afghan culture * No matter whom you are; if you visit a home you will be given the best the family has. * This relates back to the idea of gaining honour. * If you are invited to tea, which you inevitably will be, you will be offered snacks and you tea glass will be constantly filled. When you have had enough cover the glass with your hand and say “bus” (means enough)

Social Etiquette, Customs and Protocol
(Meeting and Greeting) * When meeting someone the handshake is the most common form on greeting. You will also see people place their hands over their hearts and nod slightly. * One should always enquire about things like a person's health, business, family, etc. * Women and men will never shake hands let alone speak directly to one another. * Eye contact should also be avoided between men and women. Between men eye contact is acceptable as long as it is not prolonged - it is best to only occasionally look someone in the eyes
(Mixing between genders) * Free mixing between genders only takes places within families. * In professional situations such as at businesses or universities, males and females may be co-workers, but are nevertheless cautious to maintain each other's honour. * Foreign females must learn to read the rules and live by them. * If a man speaks to you directly in a social context, he is dishonouring you. If someone speaks to you on the street, that is equally inappropriate. You should avoid looking men in the eyes, and keep your eyes lowered when you walk down the street to maintain your reputation as a proper woman. * Women must always dress properly to avoid unwanted attention. Always wear loose fitting pants under your skirts and be sure the definition of your legs is undistinguishable. It is also strongly advisable to wear a headscarf in public. * On the other hand foreign men should note that it is inappropriate to initiate social conversation with a woman, and one should not ask a male about his wife or female relatives. * Men and women should never be alone in the same room. If this happens you should ensure a door is left open. * Men and women should never touch one another under any circumstances.…...

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...Migration in Afghanistan 1. Introduction Afghanistan is home to the largest refugee crises experienced since the inception of the UNHCR. Decades of war have led millions to flee their homes and seek refuge in the neighboring countries of Pakistan and Iran, and for those who were able, further abroad. The number of refugees spiked in 1990 at 6.2 million. They began to decrease in 1992 with the fall of the government, but began to increase again in 1996 with the rise of the Taliban. In 2002, with the fall of the Taliban and the US-led invasion, record numbers of Afghan refugees returned to Afghanistan. An international reconstruction and development initiative began to aid Afghans in rebuilding their country from decades of war. Reports indicate that change is occurring in Afghanistan, but the progress is slow. The Taliban have regained strength in the second half of this decade and insurgency and instability are rising. Afghanistan continues to be challenged by underdevelopment, lack of infrastructure, few employment opportunities, and widespread poverty. The slow pace of change has led Afghans to continue migrating in order to meet the needs of their families. Today refugee movements no longer characterize the primary source of Afghan migration. Migration in search of livelihoods is the primary reasons for migration and occurs through rural-urban migration in Afghanistan or circular migration patterns as Afghans cross into Pakistan and/or Iran. Afghans utilize their...

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Afghanistan

...Afghanistan Afghanistan is located between the southern and the central part of Asia. The country holds about 32 million people. The capital in Afghanistan is Kabul. There are a lot of different languages spoken in Afghanistan. This is due to the diversity of ethnicities in Afghanistan. Dari is the official language in Afghanistan although more people speak Pashtun. The country is currently facing a war which started in 1978 during the cold war. The war originated when the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took action against the communism in Afghanistan. This revolution is referred to as the Saur Revolution. The war in Afghanistan blossomed because of different ideologies in the Countries and large groups were dissatisfied by how the country was ruled. Afghanistan was an independent country before the war but the Soviets saw an opportunity to invade the country. They invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and assigned a new leader in the Country. This lasted about 10 years before the Soviet decided to leave the country. Afghanistan is a Democratic country now but there are a lot of rebels in the country that belong to the Taliban groups. Their goal is to diminish the democracy in Afghanistan. Life in Afghanistan has been known to be hard, especially as a woman. Afghanistan have made progress with women’s rights but the conditions are still bad. Close to 60% of all women get married within the age of 16. The amount of women dying because of childbirth is pretty common in......

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Afghanistan

...January 27, 2010 War on Afghanistan We are all humans, and as other creatures we are imperfect and full of sin. We might have wrong thoughts, unique beliefs, or even dour doctrines. However, all these features shouldn’t drag us to be authoritarians under any circumstance. These words precisely illustrate the situation that was ongoing in Afghanistan under the rule of Taliban government. I tended to think that killing cannot be justified in defense of the innocent against unjust attack, whether the victim deserves it or not. But that right is not absolute; someone can forfeit that right if they willfully threaten or taken the lives of innocent people. Therefore, the American involvement in Afghanistan was fair and justified in order to bring the Afghan’s sorrow, tyranny, and violation of rights to an end. Historically, the country of Afghanistan was devastated by the successive wars. The people were exhausted from the consecutive occupations and tyranny. As a result, it summed in an enormous human and economic toll. After the Soviet withdrawal, the government steadily lost ground to the extremist forces. In early 1992, Kabul was captured, and Al-Qaeda militia men set up a new government consisting of a 50-member ruling council. The new brutal government started imposing their extremist, strict beliefs on people. They used radio broadcasts to coerce residents into adhering to their strict edicts. The extremists spread fear and despair among the Afghans by their......

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