I look at the definition of culture and it is as follows:
The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another.
Culture is transmitted, through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art, from one generation to the next.
To me culture means diversity. The people that come to the mosque come from various parts of the world, bringing with them their culture from their country of origin. It’s actually amazing to see multicultural and diversity in one place when all of them come together and use the mosque.
This is most apparent during Eid celebration where you can the diversity, from the way they dress.
Sometimes people that do not know the true culture can be misled by the way someone talks or the way they act. For example, some people are “loud” in their normal conversation, where as some are “quiet” and thinking that “loud” people are having an argument.
My personal experience when I started working with the community was challenging, as the culture I have is different from most of the people there. However in time, I understood that each and every one of the people who use the mosque brought their own culture from their home to Ireland.
For the youngsters that are born here in Ireland, they can be conflicted or confused as to which culture they need to follow, especially when their parents are very strict in their “customs” from back home.
This is why I suggested that the mosque to be part of the National Neighbourhood project. From my point of view this project is creating cultural awareness among the community. Through the project some of the most diverse cultures in Dublin can be made transparent and shared with the wider community. In time it will create a safe and inclusive social environment where members of the communities can come together, can build networks of support and mutual solidarity and can work together toward a shared future.
By Nor Nasib, Amal Group, Islamic Foundation of Ireland