Ethnicity and Religion Impact on the Second Language Acquisition of Muslims Males

The aim of this paper is to look into effects of religious and ethnicity practices on acquisition of second language by male Muslims in Australian community. This essay employs qualitative techniques to investigate aspects of Muslim’s origin, cultural, attitude, and religion and their impacts on acquisition of second language such as English. The key concept of this reflective treatise is an in-depth analysis impact of religion and ethnicity on acquisition of second language by Muslim males in Australia

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Besides, the paper resonates on use and status of English and Arabic language in the Muslim male community in Australia. Research study has shown that Islamic language (Arabic) is associated with Islamic religion. With the increase demand in usage of English language in Muslim community, radical protagonists of Muslim faith associate this language with a threat to Islamic language. Reflectively, in my opinion, knowing English language is neither a sign of westernization nor assimilation (imitation) indicating dominance of western values. It is a global language that should be embraced by all. Moreover, defending Islamic language should not be perceived as an identity of culturalism and nationalism, but rather, should be viewed in terms of defending the Islamic language. Due to need for economic liberalization, some males in Australian Islamic community perceives English language as the language that holds the future because its mastery has provided wide opportunities in trade, technology education, and business sectors (Livezev, 2001, p.10). However, such attitude should not contradict the role of Islamic language (Arabic) as an effective device for daily education, communication, and media in Muslim community. The study is focused on identifying the use and status of English and Islamic languages in male Muslim society of Australia (Ansari, 2010, p. 8). It intends to investigate the planning of language from the perspective of Islamic community. Furthermore, it addresses the demand of a policy language in Islamic society and the impact of Muslim community enacting such a policy.

There is strife between the Islamic language and English. Islamic language is rooted within the religion of the Muslim community (Guo, 2011, p. 1). The two languages are big battalions in terms of international struggle in governing the Middle East region. Imperialism proves that there is a close relationship existing between Christianity and English. Moreover, the most normal indication of cultural expansion based upon colonialism promoted spread of English language and religion of Christianity. In fact, the cultural and ideological background of English is a threat to Muslim community according to radical Islamic extremists. Therefore, the effective resolution is to abide by the Islamic way to learn English as something foreign to them (Jenkins, 2010, p. 22). This is to ensure that the Islamic community adopts Islamic English that is modified in order to support the community speaking correct Islamic meanings and nouns to avoid language distortion. This can provide linguistic needs in speaking English language to the Islamic users. The proof is that Islamic English has played significant role in reappropriating English orthographically, lexically and phonetically to fulfill the Islamic needs (Guo, 2011, p. 1). English is not the language of Islamic community though it is an essential tool for progress of a nation, race, religion, and individual self. Islamic language (Arabic) is a communication means and a tool which is renowned for its civilization and culture (Rochman, 2007, p. 3). English should not be perceived to be in strife with Muslim language because Islamic religion encourages its followers to learn other languages. This can be traced in Quran which encourages Muslims to acquire insight; therefore learning English language can be an essential tool to develop knowledge. Mastering English should be of pride to them (Zaman, 2001, p. 4). Though, the some individuals in the Islam community questions essence of learning English, the underlying issues for the protest can be coined from deeply religious orientation which is silent on motivated materialistic learning in general. According to Zaman (2001), using English language threatens the identity of the Muslim community and learning English dilute the religion commitment of Islam, using foreign language is disloyal the Muslim identity (Zaman, 2001, p. 4).

Islamic community should be aware that learning English does not automatically follow (mean) that Islamic people would assimilate western culture (Drucker, 2003, p. 10). English should be used a as tool to know the western culture. The Muslim community believes that English is being utilized as an imperialistic focus. However, some of the male Australian Muslims feel that English symbolize westernization (Drucker, 2003, p. 10). In fact, “English usage means to imitate and to care for the western culture. This indicate that Muslim community link native speakers with their language” (Giambo, 2006, p. 1). Reflectively, use of English language among male Muslims in Australia can never affect their national identity because they simply use it to understand western culture. According to Kobeisy (2004):

They connect imperialism with English, they don’t distinguish between them. They are not capable in knowing that it is the people (native speakers) who posses imperialistic gain but not the language (Kobeisy, 2004, p. 56).

Islamic language promotes Arab-Islamic civilization. Language is essential in indicating development of character and self-confidence of a community (Byram, 2000, p. 23). Arabic community and the Muslim related together to promote their ideology because defending Islam is similar to support Arabic culture. Since Holy Quran is written in Arabic language, knowing Arabic language has an essential role in their religion (Haynes, 2007, p. 67). It is compulsory to understand this in order to appreciate culture behind Hadith, Holy Quran, and other religious documents. Since holy Koran aims at promoting unity and sense of brotherhood, Muslim males all over the world cling to Arabic language and are reluctant in acquiring second language perceived as inferior (Kerch, 2007, p. 45).

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Muslim members wish to build English knowledge and to master it because English usage has increased in the region (Hinkle, 2002, p. 6). The usage of both foreign languages and Islamic language (Arabic) is a distinctive element of people who are well educated. Islamic community agrees that English is a tool that is used for globalization, though this negatively affects Arabic language in the region. Globalization promotes integration and interdependence of international economy (Fattah, 2007, p.6). This is brought by afforded opportunity of technology in mobilization of services, ideas, production, information and goods in the entire world. Globalization process has impact on linguistics; for example, changes in language and death or loss of language (Kurzman, 2011, p. 7). Islamic community feels that globalization promotes potential trade for some languages. Thus, Muslim community feels that English compete and is a threat to Islamic language in terms of utility. Both languages are vital in the education field. Muslim community desires their family members to study English language in learning institutions. They also desire to utilize Arabic language as an instruction medium in every learning institution (Al-Arian, 2004, p.7). This would enhance their achievements when they learn Arabic language and are taught in their native language. They prefer language that is used to carry out instruction to be based on Arabic but should not be foreign. They like Arabic language rather than other foreign languages to be utilized as an instruction medium. Muslim community feel that Arabic language can assimilate all discipline of sciences therefore there is no reason to utilize foreign languages like English as an instruction medium to them (Balz, 2007, p. 1). They feel that learning and teaching foreign language can affect Islamic language in their region. Therefore, usage of English language should be restricted in their community. This shows that Islamic community intends to use English language but that should not undermine Arabic language.

They expressed the need for foreign language (English). Since they are Islamic in origin, Arabic language is mandatory to them though English can be essential in other important areas in life. Moreover, they agree that the development of Muslim community in Australia relies on international interaction (Brown, 2006, p.2). It is through English language that skills and knowledge demanded to attain such progress can be obtained. Islamic community needs to adopt various technology modes due to increased quantity of technology and information. Therefore, learning English would build self-reliance and competence of individuals to acquire the need of better life in globalization objectives.

Male Muslim community belongs to international community that appreciates, interact, and understand various cultures of people in various nations while preserving their Arabic and Islamic identity. Knowing English is the duty of the country in order to safeguard Muslim nation from traditional backwardness (Hassan, 2003, p.7). Knowing English is vital strategy to Muslim community of Australia. Islamic society stereotyped the origin of science to western culture which is the reason why western language has dominated in those disciplines (Rubinstein, 2003, p. 12). English is required to proclaim Islam in carefully documented texts because English is not a non-Islam language, but it is an essential tool for progress of Islamic religion, people, and country.

Research shows that religious and cultural factors affect learning and teaching of foreign language (English) in male Muslim community of Australia. Socio-economic development, motivation, and strife between Arabic and English are factors that are investigated in order to understand what impedes progress of learning English in such a society (Kobeisy, 2007, p. 56). Learning and teaching of English is driven by long term focus in attaining complete communication means in grammar, writing, listening and reading. Motivation is low simply because the community develops anxiety for learning English language and feels that there is tension between Arabic and English speaking nations associated with western decadence. They feel that English should neither undermine nor dominate Arabic language in their culture. Motivation drives language attainment because motivated people always want to attain specified goals to satisfy their experiences in realizing such needs (Ahmed, 2002, p. 89). Learning a language is just like associating with other cultures. Motivation to know a language can develop attitude to such a community. English is supposed to be used as a device for economic and social development.

English is associated with Christianity because the language was brought by the first Christian missionaries who opened their colonies in various regions in the world (Reksulak, 2004, p. 9). There has been strife between Christian (western) world and Islamic world in history which is an extension of enmity between Islam and English. Islam and English are battalions that disagreed in terms of governing the region of Middle East. Muslim independent world revived its consciousness that emphasized on the issue of national identity while rejecting English and Christianity (Mansel, 2003, p. 4). Arabic community perceives English language as a tool for non-believers. As a result, English teaching is viewed as competing against Arabic intentions. Muslims perceives that English language is a culture and knowledge which threatens Islamic cultural norms (Drucker, 2003, p. 3). They feel wary of possible motivation in learning English. But this should never be the way forward since Muslim community needs English for business industry and propagation of its religion. Such Islamic approach is practiced in Muslim community though it is rare and people are suspicious of it (Kymlicka, 2001, p. 15). Learning and teaching English in Islamic location is faced with anxiety of language. Such anxiety is experienced in case a condition demands a foreign language in which people are not fluent in. Such experience makes people to be nervous when wiring, listening, speaking and reading the second language. English language is detested and is compelled to certain individuals to acquire it as an important discipline in the community. Some people simply want to excel in the discipline but not to use and learn it for daily use (Byram, 2000, p.4). The anxiety of language enables school learners to avoid utilizing English outside school environment or with their teachers because they fear making mistake while talking in English.

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Muslim society should learn and study other languages, but should be careful not to be attached to hidden cultural motives from such foreign languages. Teaching and learning English is affected by religious and cultural factors in Muslim community. Learning English is perceived as a device from western culture. The above aspects impact motivation of people to learn and use English language as a second language among male Muslims in Australia. The Muslim society has prioritized retention of their local language to be used officially, claiming that English is not essential to them. Unfortunately, the effect of this rejection is apparent in economic disparity between mainstream males Australians and male Muslims. Besides, resistance to western knowledge is an irrelevant stance that would not expose them to develop their culture.

Muslim males who are inflexible in acquisition of second language such as English language are just rigid simply because of cultural and religious inclination. As a matter of fact, being multilingual is essential in trade, communication, and survival. Though religion plays a vital part in acculturation, it is only fair to appreciate diversity and initiate survival parameters within a main stream society especially when you belong to the minority. Conclusively, culture and religion places a key role in acquisition of second language among male Muslims in Australia. Generally, Muslims tend to be reserved in embracing new culture which unfortunately must include a secondary language. The best way to understand other cultures is through acquiring communicative skills inform of their language.

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