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INTRODUCTION TO the

IRAQI Culture
‫التعرف على الحضارة العراقية‬

ACS, Mobilization & Deployment


United States Army Garrison
Wiesbaden, Germany
Goal/‫الهدف‬
• The goal of this
presentation is to
provide soldiers,
civilian employees and
family members with
the basic overview of
the Iraqi culture.
Topics/‫المواضيع‬

• Geography
• Climate
• Government
• Economy
• People & Languages
• Arabic Phrases
• Religion
• World Muslims
• Men and Women Headdresses
• Clothing Limitations
• Family Life
• Drinks & Food
• Do’s and Don’ts
Geography/‫جغرافيا‬
• Location: the Middle East
• Size: twice the size of Idaho
• Neighboring countries: Jordan, Turkey,
Kuwait, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia
• Population: approximately 26 million (est.
July 2005)
• Capital city: Baghdad
Climate/‫المناخ‬
• Winter: mild to cool winter
• Summer: dry, hot, cloudless summers;
• Natural hazards: dust storms, sandstorms, floods
Government/‫الحكومة‬
On December 15, 2005 people
ratified the constitution and
elected a new government. Prime Minister is Nuri
President is Jalal Talabani al-Maliki (since May
(since April 2005) 2006).
Economy/‫القتصاد‬
• Iraq's economy is
dominated by the oil
sector, which has
traditionally provided
about 95% of foreign
exchange earnings.

• Currency: New Iraqi


dinar (NID) as of 22
January 2004
People & Languages
‫الناس واللغات‬
• Ethnic groups:
• Arab 75%-80%,
• Kurdish 15%-20%,
• Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%
• Languages:
• Arabic
• Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions),
• Assyrian
• Armenian
Arabic Phrases
‫تعبيرات باللغة العربية‬

• Hello: MERRHABA
• Peace be upon you: ASELAM ALEYKUM
• Thank you: SHUKRAN
• God is Great: ALLAHU AKBAR
• God Willing: INSHALLAH
Religion/‫الديانة‬
• Islam: In Arabic means “submission”
and is a monotheistic religion.
• Muslims: followers of Islam
• Allah: means God in Arabic language
• Mohammad: God’s Prophet
• Qur’an: Islamic Holy Book
• Mosque: Place of worship
• Ramadan: Islam’s holy month
• Sabbath (holy day): Friday
Religion, cont./‫الديانة‬
• Religious Groups:
Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%,
Sunni 32%-37%),
Christian or other 3%

• Sunni vs. Shi’a Muslims


Sunni: about 90%
Shi’a: about 10% of world
Muslims
World Muslims/‫المسلمون في العالم‬
• 1.3 billion worldwide
• Muslims may be Arabs, Turks, Malaysians,
Europeans, Americans, Africans, Chinese and
other nationalities.
• 12% of the world Muslims are Arabs
• The US has 5-6 million Muslims
• More than 9000 Muslims are on active duty in the
US armed forces.
• Indonesia: the most populous Muslim nation in
the world
Men Headdress/‫أغطية الرأس‬
‫للرجال‬
• Traditional vs. Modern
clothes

• Red and white:


wearer comes from the
country with a Monarch and
has completed the Hajj.

• Blank and white:


wearer comes from the
country of the Presidential
rule and has completed the
Hajj.
Headdresses, cont.
‫أغطية الرأس للرجال‬
• Shi’a black turbans are
associated with Shi’a
clergy. Those who wear
white turbans are
associated with the lower
echelons of the Shi’a
hierarchy.
• Sunni headdresses are
usually while (could be
black too). White means
that wearer has not made
the Hajj.
Women Headdresses
‫أغطية الرأس للنساء‬
Varies from the more traditional dress
to western style dress

Concern for modesty is


the reason for the more
traditional dress.
Clothing LIMITATIONS
‫قيود بمجال أسلوب اللباس‬
In Iraq, western attire is widely
used.

Some limitations:
• Short pants are worn by athletes
and by children and mostly
while on the sport field
• Men keep their shirts on
regardless of the heat
• Women are not required to
cover themselves from head to
toe (but mini-skirts, sleeveless
blouses and low-cut sweaters
are still out of the question).
Family Life/‫الحياة العائلية‬

• Family is the center of


honor, loyalty and
reputation.
• Honor is maintained
through hospitality and
protection of women.
• Iraqi society is patriarchal
and hierarchal: Fathers
and elders are head of the
family.
• Age and wisdom are
honored.
• Family: Larger the better.
Drinks/‫المشروبات‬
• Islam prohibits consumption of alcohol.
• Smoking and tea drinking is the favorite pastime for Iraqis.
• American coffee is available in cafes and restaurants in the
form of instant coffee (referred to as Nescafe in Iraq).
• Arabic coffee is strong and served in small cups.
Food/‫الطعام‬
• Islam prohibits
consumption of pork
products.
• Lamb is the most
consumed meat .
• Iraqi meat dishes include
vegetable and rice.
• Popular main courses
include kebabs, which are
skewered chunks of
grilled meat; quzi, roasted
and stuffed lamb; and
kubba, which is minced
meat with nuts, raisins and
spices.
Some DO’s and DON’Ts
‫بعض تعليمات افعل ول تفعل‬
DO DON’T
• Shake hands in • Back away from an
greeting and departure Iraqi during the
• Refer to entire family conversation
when making • Offer food or drink to
inquiries, well wishes a person who is fasting
and blessings during the Ramadan
• Try all food and drinks • Praise Iraqi
offered to you possessions too much;
they might give them
to you
Conclusion/‫ختاما‬
• Question
• Comments
• Personal Experience
• Other culture classes offered by ACS