Where do you draw the line?
” Culture is like the gatekeeper to how we view religion “
In this day and age, it has become increasingly difficult for people to find a balance between their culture and tradition and modern lifestyles.
In the UAE, many of the youth want to reflect the traditional Arab and Islamic values through modern ways. In contrast, others believe that the UAE tradition and rich culture should not be dampened with the intertwining of contemporary innovation and perspectives.
According to the 2019 ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, conducted in 15 Arab countries, the top finding revealed that young Arabs believe religion plays too big of a role in the Middle East and the religious institutions should be reformed.
One Emirati comments, “Religion does play a big role in our culture since religion is a way of life it does dictate the way we dress, speak, eat and act. Many positive characteristics of our culture are derived from religion, our respect for our parents, honesty, diligence, charity and so on.”
She adds, “Instead of religion negatively impacting our culture; I’d say that culture is like the gatekeeper to how we view religion because each culture perceives religion differently. Especially in the Muslim world, we aren’t all the same; we don’t practice the same.”
The UAE culture is divided into Arab and Islamic heritage, art, food, tolerance, social life and sports and recreation. As the UAE soars with innovative creations and a shift to contemporary lifestyles and challenging design expectations, wider acceptance of art as part of modern life and culture is rising in the past few years.
“I think if you come to look at our past and how people have evolved with time, you’ll come to see that art has always been a part of our identity. All forms of arts are still loved and deeply cherished today, from calligraphy, pottery, jewellery making, dancing, music, poetry, storytelling to performance arts. It’s shaped who we are and how we identify as people.” says an Emirati student in the UAE.
Another Emirati student commented, “Modern expectations don’t match the societal norms in the UAE. It’s expected as a woman to get married and have children, that was not what I wanted now living in the modern age where it’s expected to work at a high paying job and being successful in every aspect of life.”
As the UAE continues to develop and regenerate the Emirates through innovation, culture and tradition; adapting ideologies are changing the way the youth of the UAE views culture and tradition, either as an obstacle or a stepping stone to the modernization of the country.