Interview With Pakistani

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Interview With Pakistani

Ethnology is the part of anthropology that focuses on the cultures of the world; its written results are published in ethnographies. While conducting my first ethnology I learned more about my friend Mohammed than I have learned about him in the seven years I have been acquainted with him. Moe works at a convenience store and gas station that I have been frequenting since before I was even old enough to have a car to fill up with gas. Moe is originally from Pakistan, he was born in the city of Karachi, but has been in this country for 20 years. His native language is Urdu. Moe is thirty-eight years old and is married with two children. Both of his children were also born in Pakistan and are now naturalized American citizens like their father. Through my interview of Moe I learned quite a bit about Moe, his culture and his religion. In our interview, Moe illustrated three important concepts of anthropology, 1) religion, 2) social structure and 3) enculturation.

Anthropology defines religion as a set of rituals rationalized by myth that mobilizes supernatural powers to achieve or prevent transformation of state in the nature of people. Moe’s religion is that of Islam, and through our interview I learned that he is very proud and happy to be a member of that religion. He greatly enjoyed telling me about the beliefs, values and traditions of his religion that plays a very important role in his life. A Muslim’s religion encompasses perhaps more aspects of his life than the followers of almost any other religion. The concept of religion when it comes to anthropology deals with many factors. Those factors include but are not limited to myths, symbolism, polytheism or monotheism, pantheons, ancestral spirits, animism, animatism, priests, and shamans. Moe’s religion includes very few of these factors, most of the religion resolves around one god Allah, and his prophet Mohammed. Since Islam has only one god it would be classified as monotheistic, and it does not have pantheons like the Greek culture. It also does not allow symbols like the cross that symbolizes Christianity, or the star of David which symbolizes Judaism. The house of worship for Muslims is called a mosque. Moe said it was very easy to find and go to a mosque so he could practice his religion. I also learned from Moe that Islam is not that different than my religion of...

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... my friend Moe on this, even though I do receive great pleasure from the newest technological gadgets, or new luxury cars. As far as the positive “culture shocks” that Moe encountered when he first came to this country include our basic rights and freedoms that we sometime take from granted in this country. Moe spoke very passionately about the American dream; that is in fact why Moe came to this country to begin with. He wanted a better future for himself and his family, and he felt that could more easily be obtained in our society than in his.

Through my interview of Moe, I learned more than I ever could have of imagined, about him, and his religion of Islam, which is such an integral part of his life. Some ethnocentric views of Moe’s culture as judged by the values and standards of my own culture make some of his practices seem wrong such as allowing polygamy, or silly like the arranged marriages or unnecessary such as Ramadan. However, criticizing him for them would be going against the values and beliefs of my culture. Interviewing Moe and learning about why his culture has certain beliefs and values has definitely helped me in becoming more understanding and tolerant.

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