That there are two kinds of different cultures is no licence for condemning one and assuming that the other is beyond reproach.
Some aspects of Muslim cultures derive specifically from their Islamic inheritance. There need not be anything intrinsically upsetting about that fact.
Controlled experiments in chemistry take seriously the nature of the various elements begin put together. Let’s help Western Christians discern more carefully how Muslim cultures (especially Arab cultures) cohere.
Let’s draw heavily on insights from the discipline of cultural anthropology to do this. For Christians actually engaged with Muslims, it is these themes which seem most often to confuse their understanding of Muslims and to colour their interaction with them.
Neither is it enough simply to supply Western Christians with a list of guidelines as to the customs and etiquette of Muslims. Communication too often fails to get off the ground, or develop appropriately, precisely because different assumptions are being made about what is going on in the relationship between Western Christian and non-Western Muslim.
Let’s look more deeply into the complex world of Arab and other Middle Eastern cultures. Muslim cultures will illustrate how an appreciation of themes and tensions might well be applied.
If we are wishing to communicate at the level of spirit or soul, we need to learn how the Middle Easterner’s spirit or soul functions.
That story needs to be read and received with discernment.
Muslim cultures seem to manifest some prevailing ‘norms’ Those norms function at least as a continuing frame of reference, even if their influence today does not seem to be so uniformly evident as in earlier generations.
My prayer is that the ‘giant’ of Islam will not seem so large or alarming to us as it is often portrayed in both the Christian and secular media. Eventually, maybe, our apostolic mission will be more suitably fulfilled as we learn to express it in ways appropriate to human spirits very different from our own.