Attending Muslim Chlid's Funeral...need guidance

Attending Muslim Chlid's Funeral...need guidance

This is a discussion on Attending Muslim Chlid's Funeral...need guidance within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I apologize in advance if this somehow violates the no religion rule, but I don't believe it does. I'm not interested in debating religion, only ...

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    Attending Muslim Chlid's Funeral...need guidance

    I apologize in advance if this somehow violates the no religion rule, but I don't believe it does. I'm not interested in debating religion, only in learning how a couple of non-Muslims can be as respectful as possible at the funeral of an 11 year old Muslim girl.

    The situation is that my girlfriend was invited to the funeral of an 11 year old Muslim girl who lost her lengthy battle with cancer and has asked me to accompany her. The funeral will be held at an Islamic Center in Dearborn, MI and we know as much as that my girlfriend should wear a headscarf and not wear tight clothes.

    Beyond that...is there anything else we should know to avoid offending or looking ignorant of customs?

    I started wondering... at any non-Muslim funeral, I'd hold my girlfriend's hand and if she cried I might put my arm around her, etc. Is this inappropriate? Is it somehow inappropriate for her to have invited me since we are not married?

    Keep in mind, if it matters, that this is in Dearborn MI, not a Muslim country. Perhaps we even have some locals who can fill me in on how the Islamic faith and the local culture are balanced currently in this locale?

    I'll appreciate any tidbits that may be helpful. Thank you.
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    Senior Member Array Sig35seven's Avatar
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    Personally I would be who I am. Their faith is not my faith. I'm not a Muslim and don't follow any of those traditions. I would go and offer my condolences dressed the way I always dress in a respectful manner. The same goes for my significant other as she would not wear the headscarf. If she cried I would not think twice about putting my arms around her.

    Would they take off the headscarf at your funeral to adapt to your beliefs? I don't think so.
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    Senior Member Array Lewis128's Avatar
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    I would suggest asking the girl's parents, or possibly the minister performing the service. (sorry, not sure the proper term)
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    Don't do things you don't want to explain to the Paramedics!

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    Might I suggest calling the Islamic center where the funeral is being held and asking them?
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    Respect their culture but don't forget your own culture and customs. Dress appropriately, don't have your gf wear a headscarf unless she would normally do so and go with the flow at the service. You are still being respectfully if your girlfriend doesn't hide herself under cloth and you hug her if she gets emotional.
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    Make sure to remove your shoes. It is possible it may be segregated between men and women, so I'm not sure you two will be able to sit together according to custom - although you probably could. Unless they're really orthodox and strict, I don't think they're going to ask you two to separate, especially since you're already married. However, Eastern religious custom (not just Islam) usually means men and women stand on different sides.

    Other than that, just be generally respectful. They're not going to expect you to be experts at their cultural and religious expectations. If you have any questions, I'm sure you could ask anyone there... if they're decent people, they should have no problem explaining the answer, and most of the time, they'll be happy to since they probably don't get to do that very often.

    I believe that in many mosques, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter. The fact that you are allowed to be there in this instance tells me that you're probably dealing with more westernized, tolerant Muslims. You should be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattInFla View Post
    Might I suggest calling the Islamic center where the funeral is being held and asking them?
    This is your answer right here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattInFla View Post
    Might I suggest calling the Islamic center where the funeral is being held and asking them?
    +1 for this response

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    Some of itís my attitude but a funeral is a funeral. So wear somber formal clothing (where a dark suit and tie is my personal belief) be respectful, and ask questions if you are nervous.
    And most importantly. My condolences go out for the sad loss of a young life.

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    This post has me thinking...

    Would you have asked this question if it were a Jewish funeral or how about if it were a Buddhist or Hindu? It seems there is an underlying fear of insulting Islam by not 'fitting in' properly.

    I would not wear a Yarmulke at a Jewish funeral nor take Catholic communion for that matter. I wouldn't wear any garb that any other religion deems sacred and I would be adamantly opposed the idea of my wife, daughter or girl friend wearing something on her head that symbolizes such a misogynistic ideology. Separating the women to sit in a different area than the men is just another act of coercion against women.
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    Ex Member Array William Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig35seven View Post
    This post has me thinking...

    Would you have asked this question if it were a Jewish funeral or how about if it were a Buddhist or Hindu? It seems there is an underlying fear of insulting Islam by not 'fitting in' properly.

    I would not wear a Yarmulke at a Jewish funeral nor take Catholic communion for that matter. I wouldn't wear any garb that any other religion deems sacred and I would be adamantly opposed the idea of my wife, daughter or girl friend wearing something on her head that symbolizes such a misogynistic ideology. Separating the women to sit in a different area than the men is just another act of coercion against women.
    I've been to a Jewish funeral, and out of respect, I wore a yarmulke. I've never been to a Hindu or Buddhist funeral, but if there was something I could do to honor their ways, I would do it. Are people required to do it? No, but what would it hurt to show respect for the traditions of others?

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    On the other hand...
    certainley a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Shiite would not expect you to honor their customs. The fact that you are there should be enough.
    To some, wearing customary garb such as a yarmulke when you are clearly not Jewish or a rag over your face if you are not muslim could be seen as a sign of disrespect.

    Honor them with your presence and dont worry about the rest.
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    Keep in mind what a funeral is for. It's not for you and your SO, it's for the loved ones of the dead. If you sincerely object to any customs that you might have to observe (and there's nothing wrong with that), don't go. If that's the case, send a card to the family and make a donation to an appropriate charity. It's not about protesting or making a statement about a culture or religion.

    But aside from all that, definitely call the center and see what's up.
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    Might try google or even ask your pastor.
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