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Extending the hand of friendship


Hello everyone, I need some advice. First of all, the reason I came to the Middle East was to help my friends back home in the USA understand more about this culture. I have spent time in Saudi, UAE and now Oman. I am trying very hard to keep an open mind. There are things I love about this culture and things that I don't understand, so I need to know if I should pursue my goal here, which is to foster peace through understanding.

This has been my experience so far. The women laugh at me and gossip about me. To them, I am something to entertain them. I invited some women to my house and they criticized my food. I went to the house of a family and was asked by all members how many boyfriends I had in the past. The men see me as a sex object or a mistress. I am a teacher, who follows the local customs and shows respect to others but I am insulted and I feel that I can no longer do this. I feel really sad because I have always said good things about Muslims and defended them, but now I will go home feeling dejected. I have lived and worked in 14 countries. The people of other cultures have treated me nice. I know that I have made many efforts. You know peace and understanding has to come from both sides. I am not asking to be treated like a queen, just with respect. I think the things they have done to me are even considered rude in their own culture. Anyway, at the moment I am staying within my own culture. When other people ask me what it is like to live here, I will just tell them what I experienced.