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Old Sep 11th 2017, 2:16 pm   #16
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Originally Posted by taistealai View Post
We aren't Arabs, the blood in my veins is as Irish as one reasonably can be, and my wife is from the east of France, near Nancy. We are Muslim.


Where we live anywhere matters for the same reason that it matters to anyone else. I'm not opposed to living in Saudi, but I didn't know that we would be allowed to live in a regular house on a regular street in a regular neighbourhood, I thought we would be obliged to live in a compound with other Europeans and Americans, segregated from the native population and non-western foreigners.
I see.

I wouldn't write off the UAE or Qatar as culture-less either though.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 2:18 pm   #17
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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A thaistealaí, a chara,

F√°ilte roimh an mbored!

With that out of the way (and as this is an English language forum) let me proceed with the customary abuse! I have no comprehension why you would embrace another religion in which you haven't been raised (unless you have been raised a Muslim and then I can at least fathom why you are a follower). But as you are a Muslim I guess, I can kind of understand why you want to live in a Muslim majority country. But be careful as they are a very mixed bag and I have heard many Muslims, who have moved to Europe from elsewhere, say that their new home is a better place to be a Muslim than where they came from.

First, there is still no stable, democratic and free (in the generally accepted sense of the word: press, belief, voting etc) Muslim majority country. Malaysia, Indonesia and, perhaps now, Tunisia come closest but they all have their flaws. Turkey has slipped right off the list. Those little personal freedoms can be a large price to pay for feeling less like an outsider. Because you will still be an outsider, albeit of a different kind.

Think very carefully about what you are giving up as well as gaining. For a start, in Muslim countries, religion and state tend to be very intertwined so your mosque and imams give you not just a religious orientation but also whatever happens to be the government line. Depending on what sect or strand of Islam you follow, that could have a very significant impact on your freedom to practice. This goes far deeper and broader than Sunni/Shi'a of course. Sufi practices, for example, are de rigeur in some places and apostasy in others.

Furthermore, going to a majority Muslim country may also set back your chances of going on Hajj significantly as most have very long waiting lists and increasingly restrictive permissions. Also, the Saudi authorities are pretty nakedly racist in their distribution of Hajj permits so you would almost certainly get on a list sooner in Youghal than in Yogyakarta. Latterly I believe Hajj permits for Muslim residents in the Gulf, who are not GCC nationals, have been very difficult to come by. This is unlikely to improve. Even living in the kingdom (and really, you need to consider this option very carefully) might not improve your chances that much.

Quite a lot to think about - giving up living in Europe means giving up a lot more than you might think at first...


We are Muslim, neither my wife or myself were born or raised Muslim, both of our families were and still are Roman Catholics, we became Muslim separately as young adults and came to know each other when both of us came to Paris to study and joined the Paris I branch of l'EMF.


I don't see a reason for me to try and justify our spiritual paths, especially when you've made yourself so very clear. A very big part of our wanting to move to the Muslim world is to avoid having to justify ourselves to a majority that feels as you do, to not feel as though we need to apologise for living as we live or worse yet for the actions of people who have nothing to do with us, to not have to worry about our children hearing a politician like Marine Le Pen or Theresa May or a so called intellectual like Alain Finkielraut or Richard Dawkins on television and wondering why the society that they live in not only legally allows such hatred to be spewed, but (in some sectors) applauds it.


I'll always love France and I'll always be a proud Irishman, but we are looking to live in one of these countries precisely because it is different. To put it another way, 15 years ago, Turkey wouldn't have been a country under consideration.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 2:21 pm   #18
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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I see.

I wouldn't write off the UAE or Qatar as culture-less either though.
Oh certainly not! I hope I didn't intend to say that at all, it's just that we don't necessarily want to live an expat lifestyle. Saudi Arabia is a different story now that I've been corrected on the question of compounds, because as far as I know the country is no less 'local' in composition than an average European country, but I've been to Dubai, and I think it would be quite hard to live amongst the native culture when 90% of the population are also expatriates.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 6:38 pm   #19
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Malaysia is interesting, it's a wicked place but I found KL to be a very similar sort of place to Dubai. Total focus on malls with a centre-piece that's just a smaller version of Downtown, albeit with very pretty towers.

I wouldn't discount the GCC if it's culture you're after though.

I also don't get it - you're a non-Arab but going on Hajj to Saudi? So you must be Muslim? In which case, what does it matter where you live in Saudi?
Bit naive that.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 6:40 pm   #20
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Originally Posted by taistealai View Post
We plan on going for Hajj in the coming year, but aren't non-Arab foreigners required to live in a compound if you're a full time expat?
No requirements to live anywhere. I've lived on and off. Currently live on a military base.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 6:48 pm   #21
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Oh certainly not! I hope I didn't intend to say that at all, it's just that we don't necessarily want to live an expat lifestyle. Saudi Arabia is a different story now that I've been corrected on the question of compounds, because as far as I know the country is no less 'local' in composition than an average European country, but I've been to Dubai, and I think it would be quite hard to live amongst the native culture when 90% of the population are also expatriates.
About a third of the population is expats.
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Old Sep 12th 2017, 3:09 am   #22
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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An English speaking school wouldn't be necessary, Francophone schools are fine as well, and we would love for our children to be fluent in Arabic, because although my wife and I are both proficient in Fusha and Classical Arabic, we can't really understand normal conversational Arabic or much of anything aside from a newscast in very formal language or Qura'nic recitation. It's also very important to us that they aren't at an international school with few local schoolmates.

In all likelihood we'll send our children to a local independent school where they can learn the local curriculum and get some sort of international qualification like an IB diploma, so that they can go to uni in France or Britain or Ireland or one of the top universities in the region like AUC or NYU Abu Dhabi etc. but that's very far off. AFAIK, Istanbul has some of the best schools in the region, with a curriculum that mixes modern European style education with traditional Islamic studies, so if we wind up there, it shouldn't be too hard for us to find something suitable.


Employment is of course an important consideration. My wife is a teacher who is qualified to teach French as a foreign language, so we are thinking that if needed she can work at a language school or freelance, but ideally we'll open our business. I studied literature and history, and my education doesn't get used in my current profession, so we had this romantic notion that we would open some sort of book store that can also serve as a space for local artists to show off their work, classes and lectures etc. It isn't something we could ever do in Western Europe, where starting up such an establishment would cost millions, and where most of the population is....post-literary, to put it euphemistically.
I'd say you ought to give it a try now while you don't have kids and see if your plans are at all feasible.

Start with the practical stuff such as is it possible for you to get a visa to work and live in the selected country, especially if you are planning to be self employed.
A local school that teaches IB will be generally aimed at more affluent local people, the actual government schools will be several grades below this. Costs maybe higher than expected. Another point is that in Ireland (the Republic) kids who are not from the internal school system are treated as foreign nationals for university fees so it's something to bear in mind.

Unless you are moving with a lot of funds the compounds etc. will be outside of affordability so I doubt that will be an issue.

Good luck! It sounds an insane plan to me but each to their own
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Old Sep 12th 2017, 3:30 am   #23
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Originally Posted by taistealai View Post


I don't see a reason for me to try and justify our spiritual paths, especially when you've made yourself so very clear. A very big part of our wanting to move to the Muslim world is to avoid having to justify ourselves to a majority that feels as you do, to not feel as though we need to apologise for living as we live or worse yet for the actions of people who have nothing to do with us, to not have to worry about our children hearing a politician like Marine Le Pen or Theresa May or a so called intellectual like Alain Finkielraut or Richard Dawkins on television and wondering why the society that they live in not only legally allows such hatred to be spewed, but (in some sectors) applauds it.
I must agree with you on some of the hatred spewed forth as you put it, and as such was pleased when Anjem Choudary was jailed, also a bit disappointed when the killers of Lee Rigby were not sentenced to death for hacking his head off!

There is good and bad in all societies and given all the recent events to claim any moral high ground is offensive, especially given the track record of what has been done in the name of your faith in Europe over the last few months!
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Old Sep 12th 2017, 4:02 am   #24
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

I grew up in England until I was 9 years old. Then moved to Algeria for a while as my father had work there.
My mother especially struggled with the total contrast in lifestyle.
Regardless of your faith something tells me you're both being very naive as to how much of a culture shock you will get by moving to a Muslim country.
Muslim countries are not just about their faith but about a way of life which is totally alien to us Europeans.

I truly wish you well but I ready don't think you know what you're letting yourselves in for!!
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Old Sep 12th 2017, 4:42 am   #25
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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Originally Posted by taistealai View Post
, to not have to worry about our children hearing a politician like Marine Le Pen or Theresa May or a so called intellectual like Alain Finkielraut or Richard Dawkins on television and wondering why the society that they live in not only legally allows such hatred to be spewed, but (in some sectors) applauds it.
Interesting.

I applaud Richard Dawkins for continuing to stand up to religion. I don't agree with some of his supporters who are nastier than he, but I do agree with the general point.

Anyway. Totally different topic.

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Originally Posted by taistealai View Post
Oh certainly not! I hope I didn't intend to say that at all, it's just that we don't necessarily want to live an expat lifestyle. Saudi Arabia is a different story now that I've been corrected on the question of compounds, because as far as I know the country is no less 'local' in composition than an average European country, but I've been to Dubai, and I think it would be quite hard to live amongst the native culture when 90% of the population are also expatriates.
Ah, cool, just misunderstood.
It will be hard to totally integrate anywhere but I'd suggest any of your options would be a potentially good pick. Malaysia is lovely and probably the easier of the three to get work? Not sure, guess it depends what you do.

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Bit naive that.
But the OP doesn't want the expat style life so compound living in Saudi is hardly ideal?
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Old Sep 12th 2017, 5:00 am   #26
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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We are Muslim, neither my wife or myself were born or raised Muslim, both of our families were and still are Roman Catholics, we became Muslim separately as young adults and came to know each other when both of us came to Paris to study and joined the Paris I branch of l'EMF.


I don't see a reason for me to try and justify our spiritual paths, especially when you've made yourself so very clear. A very big part of our wanting to move to the Muslim world is to avoid having to justify ourselves to a majority that feels as you do, to not feel as though we need to apologise for living as we live or worse yet for the actions of people who have nothing to do with us, to not have to worry about our children hearing a politician like Marine Le Pen or Theresa May or a so called intellectual like Alain Finkielraut or Richard Dawkins on television and wondering why the society that they live in not only legally allows such hatred to be spewed, but (in some sectors) applauds it.


I'll always love France and I'll always be a proud Irishman, but we are looking to live in one of these countries precisely because it is different. To put it another way, 15 years ago, Turkey wouldn't have been a country under consideration.
Well you seem to have ignored the rest of my post beyond the first few sentences though I was genuinely trying to be helpful. That's your choice but bear in mind I am speaking as someone who has lived for more than a decade in a Muslim majority country and has visited most of the Muslim world. It's clear to me from what you have written that you have a very fanciful notion of life in the Muslim world. Not least, for example, the idea that you can just waltz off on Hajj at will. Or that you will be free to practice your particular strand of Islam in public regardless of where you go. The Muslim world is a sectarian minefield often not visible to non-Muslims (having a Muslim partner and many close friends does give this some visibility to me). It is easier, in many ways, to live here as a non-Muslim (as long as you profess to some religion) because you don't risk crossing any of those faultlines.

There is no longer any enlightened Caliphate. Your notion of a post-literary western world will seem quaint in the face of the anti-literary anti-scholastic attitudes prevalent among the Salafist wave of religious authorities now prevalent across the Muslim world thanks to Saudi funding. And as for a bookstore, I'd suggest alas that your most assured path to profitability would be to carry the works of the Islamic equivalents of Le Pen or worse, of whom there are so many. Mind you most public expression now seems to be contained to 140 characters. Just check the list of the most followed tweeters in Saudi (where Twitter is huge) for a depressing illustration of the points I have made.

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Old Sep 12th 2017, 6:10 am   #27
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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... to not have to worry about our children hearing a ... so called intellectual like ... Richard Dawkins ...
In that case I'm glad you'll not be going to UK. If you yourself consider Dawkins not to be intellectual, and -- more worryingly -- would prohibit your children from listening to him, then you are letting faith (fantasy and delusion) get in the way of thought and freedom and freedom of thought. To deny those things to your children is unspeakable.

I originally posted with honest, sincere advice (no thanks for it, mind). I wish I hadn't. It's not that you hold different views from me, but that you would prohibit children access to a spectrum of views and thereby deny them the opportunity to consider and weigh them fairly and objectively. You'll fit in well.
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Old Sep 12th 2017, 6:42 am   #28
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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I grew up in England until I was 9 years old. Then moved to Algeria for a while as my father had work there.
My mother especially struggled with the total contrast in lifestyle.
Regardless of your faith something tells me you're both being very naive as to how much of a culture shock you will get by moving to a Muslim country.
Muslim countries are not just about their faith but about a way of life which is totally alien to us Europeans.

I truly wish you well but I ready don't think you know what you're letting yourselves in for!!
This. Exactly this.
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Old Sep 12th 2017, 6:47 am   #29
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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I see.

I wouldn't write off the UAE or Qatar as culture-less either though.
I'd say Oman might give the best balance of GCC comforts with genuine and accessible local culture. As with most of these places, getting decently paid employment (and sponsorship) will be the main difficulty.

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Old Sep 12th 2017, 6:57 am   #30
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Default Re: Life in Morocco compared to life in Turkey

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This. Exactly this.
I think it will be ok. Anyone who converts is generally looking for something that is missing in their own culture (or they are totally lost) that they will embrace all sorts of shit in a new one.

I'd say go for it and run the little Islamic bookshop. You're not in this for the money but for a lifestyle you are seeking. I don't think you'll find your lifestyle however but that shouldn't stop you trying.
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