Individuals develop their own perspective angles based on their respective gender role, culture, ethnicity, and environment. When it comes to my life, among the above said variables, culture and environment have played very important roles. Admittedly, women constituted the major influential element in my living environment since my early childhood. Although I may not be able to mention one or two individuals among them in particular as the most central characters, women in general have influenced the way I approach the world and my life.
Studies reveal that where there is a sense of culture, it is followed by conflict or assimilation. I was born and brought up in a Coptic Orthodox Christian family. Although my parents were highly proud of their Christian heritage, they were never indifferent to other religious groups. They never insisted me to pick out friends on the grounds of religion or any other ideologies. Since my childhood I have been lucky with a good number of friends, among whom majority were Muslims. My mom despite her Christian belief was very friendly with Muslim women of our neighborhood. Admittedly, a few of them were my substitute mothers in several occasions. They fed me well, and I often slept with their own children. My parents seemed very comfortable whenever they had to leave me at their homes for some reasons. Although I cannot define the characteristics of a perfect woman, I am sure these ladies possessed some qualities, which women in general do not have. Cultural variance was never a reason for conflict between my family and Muslim neighbors. Knowingly or unknowingly I learned to assimilate my culture into that of others. This is how Muslim culture, especially Muslim women shaped my living environment.
As Gibbon points out, “culture in ideational sense clearly influence one’s thoughts and dreams” whereas physical environment does it through its ‘intended and unintended’ impacts of culture-related activities (16). I was a very essential element in their family events. Therefore, I am familiar with their religious and cultural practices. ‘My substitute moms’ and my young Muslim female friends taught me the significance of their practices. Thus reference of good values of life and beliefs are also imparted to me the same way. As a person living in a multicultural setting, I was familiar with a variety of food provisions, and was never constrained to strict cultural norms or unique dietary habits.
Islam is a religion that gives higher importance to family relationships and traditional values. The community values...