Culture Clash. . .Gently
Not long ago, I had an exchange of e-mails with a Muslim woman who is studying in Canada. In the light of the fact that Muslims in the United States and Canada are here in significant numbers (larger than Jews) due to recent immigration, we discussed what I believed would be changes they would bring to Canadian society and how Canadian society would change Islam.
She seemed reluctant, even as a sophisticated, well educated, well travelled Muslim woman, to admit that Islam would be changed by its presence in Canada. The fact is the dominant culture always brings changed in the new cultures as they accomadate them and are, in turn, modified by them.
I told her that some day soon a Muslim women will become a newsreader on TV and in so doing will wear her head scarf, hajab. This will become accepted just as we now have Asian and South Asian news people on TV who we now accept as just typically Canadian.
Australia, like Canada and the US has seen an increased number of Muslims emmigrate there. It has not always been easy as they have had social conficts with the Muslim community. Australia's experience with multi-culturalism is relatively new. I now believe they have come to see themselves as an multi-cultural Asian nation rather than an outport of British and European culture.
A small change in Australian culture and Islam is illustrated in the pictures below of a young Muslim woman who had become a lifeguard. Lifeguards that patrol the ocean beaches in Australia are heroic icons, in their culture. They have been white male bastions of the heroic Aussie. Well, that is changing.
Mecca Laa Laa has qualified as a Muslim woman to be lifeguard. To accomadate her they have designed a swimming costume which meets Muslim standards of modesty covering the body and the head. It is also quite cute and fashionable. lgf: The Debut of Mecca Laa Laa
Meet Mecca Laa Laa, Aussie Lifeguard.
Here she is in her burkini
The burkini has been found acceptable of meeting the Islamic tradition of women dressing modestly with their heads and their bodies appropriately covered. it is also very functional for a lifeguard. (for more pictures, Getty Images - Search Mecca Laa Laa)
Change and adjustment in a society need not be a dramatic thing. It can come in small increments, painlessly acceptable to all.