Blessing And The Challenge Of A Culturally Diverse Environment

Being in a multicultural environment can be both a blessing and a challenge at the same time. The opportunity to experience different cultures is truly a privilege; the assortment of taste, the variety in fashion and even the different languages add colour to mundane lifestyles. Despite these perks of multiculturalism, some aspects can make this experience somewhat overwhelming.

Even though the diversity is pleasant, it may become a challenge when different ideas conflict due to cultural beliefs. It is safe to say that the decisions we make are highly influenced by our religious and cultural backgrounds. The differences among cultures can create conflicts between opinions. Rationalization of even the simplest ideas can become a difficult process. To one person an action or idea can make perfect sense, but to another it may come across as completely illogical.

An example of a situation that I faced regarding conflict in opinion is when trying to explain the reasoning behind fasting during the month of Ramandan. Some people find it difficult to understand our reasoning for fasting during this month. Despite of explaining my beliefs, it still stays irrational to them. Just because they do not agree with me on this, does not mean it is not important. It is not necessary for people to come to a consensus regarding faith, but that does not mean one has superiority over another.  Different does not always mean bad, and I have found that the most respectful way to approach conflicts in opinion regarding religious or cultural beliefs is to continue to keep faith in your own, at the same time respect the different points of view.

Out of all the children that we sponsor from different countries, one country stood out in the list: Guyana. This country is well known for its cultural diversity as the population follows more than six different religions and Muslims being only 7.2 percent. The Orphan Sponsorship Program sponsors children in Guyana, and this made me wonder whether being from one of the minority religious groups makes it difficult for them to make decisions in their everyday life. Are they able to appreciate the diversity and simultaneously continue their faith in the ways Allah has set out for them? As children it may be difficult, however if they are provided with proper guidance, they will be able to build their own opinion and be able to justify their own beliefs.

Author:  Tanrima Zaman

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