Saudi Female Expats in Paris Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

It is through interviews and analysis; we will see how these individuals feel about the new cultures and regulations around them. Living in a new place, these individuals can very easily let go of the limitations they were under before. Therefore, their answers will give a sound idea of what sort of struggle they are experiencing with the new culture and how to retain their self and identity.


This study was only carried out on eight students and that is the major limitation of this research project. As stated before, half of the sample size is directly from Saudi Arabia and the other half has lived in countries such as well. Despite these differences, there are other factors such as economic class, religious sect, education and family structure that make each of these individuals different one from another. Due to these differences, the generalization created from this sample set cannot be applied to all young Saudi women.

Literature Review

It has always been told to the Muslim girls that there is one thing that they need to take care of especially and that is their hudood. This implies that Muslim women have to make sure that they do not indulge in any activities that have been forbidden in Islam and anything that the Christian women indulge in. The Muslim scholars believe that when the Earth was created, God separated the men from women and He also separated the Muslim women from Christian women so that both the groups could live in harmony. The reason, the scholar believes, is that the Christian women do not have any limits that they need to stay in, meanwhile there is great stress for the Muslim women to observe pardah when they are in a mixed gathering. On the other hand, the scholars and the elderly have also talked about the fact that how Muslim girls always dreamt of trespassing this limit and they always wanted to be in unfamiliar streets to find out what is there that they have been forbidden from. Some scholars have also said that the girls were obsessed with the outside world; meanwhile the Christians kept on crossing the sea and bringing even more chaos to the world of Muslims (Mernissi and Ward).

An analogy can be drawn to the kind of situation that has been mentioned above. Today, the main population of the Muslims lives in the Middle East and Asia and the Christians are concentrated in the West, which does mean that they are separated by a sea (or actually many seas and oceans and as well). However, for education, work and other purposes Muslims and Christians have crossed these seas on both the sides. In this paper, as we are focusing on the Muslim girls who have moved to Paris, we shall talk about how the culture in the West has affected, if at all, these girls and how they have been obsessed with breaking the limits that the religion has erected for them. Even though, all of these girls have been exposed to nudity and other things that have been strictly forbidden in Islam, not all the girls end up to be trespassers. Some of them do observe the rules of the religion while living in the Western society, while the others get carried away.

When we talk about Islam and Muslims, one should remember that Muslims take guidance from their Holy Book and from the sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the explanations that have been given by some of the best Islamic scholars in the world. Most of the things that the Muslims talk about come from these sources. In Islam, the main lesson that is taught to the Muslims is that they might not have the perfect circumstances and something that is not acceptable in their religion and community should be accepted by the Muslims. This means that the Muslims are given a lesson of tolerance. They are told to respect and accept the values and cultures of the other religions so that more than one religious group can live in harmony with each other. Similarly, some of the things that are accepted and valued by some Muslim communities might not be justified in the other communities if Muslims, for example the status of women in social life. There are some Muslim communities in the world that are very conservative towards their women and they do not allow them to interact with men outside the house and expect them to cover themselves properly every time they go out. On the other hand, there are some Muslim communities that are generally liberal and allow their women to go out of the house, to interact with people outside the house. But even these communities make sure that the women do not trespass their given limits. Many scholars believe that in communities where counseling and guidance activities are devised according to the cultural norms and not according to the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, these activities and these societies will not survive in terms of Islam and these societies will not prosper in the Islam manner, even though they would be able to sustain the status-quo that exists in the society. On the other hand, if Muslims focus on the Quran and Sunnah and the teachings of these two great sources by the Muslim scholars are used to devise activities of counseling and guidance then these societies will rise above the cultural norms and will be able to make an improvement in the social as well as the Islamic spirit (Tosun).

The role of women in the Islamic societies has always been a very controversial topic. From the beginning of Islam, it has been observed that the status of women was uplifted. It was taught by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that women should get themselves educated as it is important for the education of their children. He did not ban the women of that time to take part in business, if they could manage both things well. Even his wife, Khadija, was a working lady and he never stopped her from taking part in his business. In today's world, as mentioned earlier, the women have been snubbed in many societies of the world mainly because the leaders, who are men, are afraid that these women might forget their limits and get involved in what has been forbidden in the religion. When we talk about the Gulf War that took place in the 20th century, it has been observed that the women (Arab Muslims as well as others) made sure that they played their role in restoring peace in the region. They shouted out for peace like no one else did. This was the time when the women did not even care about taking permission from their political leaders, who were yet again males (Mernissi). These women actively participated and did all that they could to stop the war. They were a part of the marches and the sit-ins in protest to stop the war. Not just this, there have been many instances where the women have come out of the houses and have done well for the world. The thing that needs to be remembered and kept in mind here is that as long as the women are not practicing anything that is absolutely contradictory to the teachings of Islam, they should be given the permission to play their role.

A major practice that we see today is ignorance of what other people see. If they take the Muslim culture of covering the hair, wearing a hijaab or wearing a veil, many people find that odd. With the increasing propaganda about Islam and Muslims, people tend to view Muslims with a rather skeptical approach. (Progler) Due to this negative approach, many of the Muslims have gone to trim their beards, change their attire and even change their approach. Then again, there are some who remain taut to their self and identity. These people practice ignorance because they really do not care what other people think of them. For these people, adherence their religion and faith holds more value than how others view them or what they would think of them.


The interviews from the girls conducted all produced different answers and various view points to look it. It should be noted that majority of the girls stated that they would wish to try out the American culture and that they didn't see anything wrong with it. This goes on to show that they have been affected with the cultural imperialism that was mentioned before. These girls were kept in families and in customs that were really tightly bind. Let alone going to a combined education university, these girls were not allowed to dress the way they wanted to dress. These same girls are going off and doing things are strictly prohibited in their religion.

A possible explanation for this act could be the increasing judgmental and suffocating…

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