KNOWING THE OTHER. CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS IDENTITY IN ISLAM
Keywords:Islam, religious identity, cross-cultural communication, values, cooperation, western cultures
The rise of Islam on the international stage is one of the major characteristics of the contemporary history. Object of continual debates, most of them in the two past decades, Islam is now part of daily reality. Islam religion is practiced all over the world by billions of people and is considered the fastest growing religion in the world. Communication with the Muslim world is heavily affected by religion and related cultural customs. As a consequence, understanding the cultural expectations of the religion is crucial for successful relationships and partnerships because Islam permeates almost every aspect of life for Muslims. Faced with world-wide political and ecological problems the West and the Islamic World stand in need of dialogue and cooperation. The key to effective cross-cultural communication is knowledge. Efforts to research Islam on the academic level, as impartially and as free from prejudice as possible, are therefore of the utmost importance. Dialogue - both in political and cultural sense - is a key term of mutual tolerance and cooperation. My research draws attention to the growing importance of intercultural and interfaith dialogue in the wider international context. It also highlights the problem of Islamic values-very old values- clearly stated in the Qur'an and praised even nowadays, that differ from western values. Muslim values are those that are created as part of the culture of the Muslim communities.
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