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Arab Vs. Islam
Date: Fri May 21 1999 - 12:02:23 PDT

> From: "sudarshan madabushi" <>
> I live and work in the Islamic world where sartorial propriety is defined by 
> strict religious prescription. The Arab menfolk are proud of their 
> "dish-dAshA" or "thobe" and the women of their "abaaya".
> As for entering a mosque in anything but the traditional attire...
> it is simply unthinkable for any Muslim here!
> I have seen personally that the willingness of the average Arab Muslim to 
> abide by the religious dress code is spontaneous. It is not induced by any 
> fear of "fatwa" or some severe mullah's ire. Only the Western media (who 
> consider themselves "experts" on all aspects of Islamic culture)project it 
> as such. The average Egyptian or Kuwaiti or Bahraini here wears his dress 
> with great pride.
Just a quick note w.r.t. the terms "Arab", "Egyptian", etc.

Arab is a race, Islam is a religion, while Egyptian/Kuwaiti/Bahraini etc. are
nationalities.   Arabs can be either Moslem or Christian; there are Christian
Arabs all across the mid-east belonging to various countries.   A common
mistake is to confuse Islamic traditions with Arabic ones.  The women's veil
for instance, is a good example of this; it is of Arabic origin and was later
incorporated into Islamic dress code.   Today only about 12% of the world's
Moslems are Arab, and they all speak varying dialects of Arabic.

I apologize for introducing a very unrelated subject (i.e. Islam/Arab) into
the list but I simply wanted to address the misconception among many Hindus
that Arabic is the same as Islamic or vice-versa. 

-Srinath Chakravarty