Skillnader i västerländsk och muslimsk kultur

Concerning anger, it quickly becomes clear that Muslims in general have a different view on aggression, anger and threatening behaviour than Danes and probably most of our Western world.

For most Westerners, it is an embarrassing sign of weakness if people become angry. This view on anger is probably consolidated already in early childhood. I have been working as a school psychologist for several years and bullying is a continuous problem at the schools that I work in. The interesting thing is that the children who are most likely to be the target of being bullied are the children that get angry the easiest. If people get angry we have a tendency to lose respect for them and in many cases we try to tease them to provoke them even more – with the pedagogical aim of helping the person to realize the childishness of his or her behaviour. Trying to get one’s will by acting aggressively or using threats is seen as immature and our reaction is often to ridicule or simply ignore them. Thus, the shortest way to lose face in our Western culture is to show anger.

Så svarar psykologen Nicolai Sennels, i en intervju om den forskning han gjort om muslimer i danska fängelser.

After listening to more than a hundred Muslim teenagers telling their stories about their feelings, thoughts, reactions, families, religion, culture, the life in their Muslim ghettos and their home countries, it became clear to me that to a Muslim such behavior is the very core of keeping one’s honor. But seen through the eyes of Western psychology, it is all an expression of a lack of self-confidence. According to our view, the base of being authentic and honorable is to know one’s strengths and weakness – and accepting them. The ability to think “your opinion about me, not mine – and mine counts to me” when provoked and being mature enough to handle criticism constructively is a source of social status in the Western world.

Och han fortsätter vidare…

Thus, when a Westerner experiences problems he asks himself: “What can I change in myself/my life to become happier?” This mentality showed it self clearly among my Danish clients. It was deeply rooted in them that talking about oneself can be a way of finding better ways of handling one’s own life. When having Muslim clients on my couch it was in most cases like having someone from another planet visiting me. Under normal conditions, Westerners and Muslims can communicate relatively easy – as long as it does not involve criticism. But in a setting where the whole concept is centred about that the Muslim client has to talk about his own feelings and thoughts because the psychologist thinks that it will help him to become more happy and able to live constructively, the “chain falls of the bike” as we say in Denmark. They shake their heads: in which way can they become happier if they expose the weaknesses that they have been taught since birth to hide in order to retain their honor? No way, José. I finally managed to develop a therapeutic method that to a certain extent could address these cultural difficulties, but therapy and Muslim mentality will probably never become real friends.

Det här är relevanta, faktiska skillnader i kultur mellan väst och mellanöstern, som till stor del kan förklara varför det blir sådana konflikter i frågor som Muhammedbilderna. Om man inte förstår och ser denna kulturskillnad, kan man inte heller gärna göra något åt de konflikter och problem med integration som uppstår och som i värsta fall leder till kriminalitet.


Andra om detta: Christer Sturmark,