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Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Old Jan 30th 2008, 6:43 pm
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Default Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Hi there people,

What is the norm when greeting people in the UAE and Saudi Arabia (and other islamic countries)?

Are things different in business compared to social situations? Is it acceptable to use Asalam-u-alaykum all the time regardless of the ethinicity of the individual?

What about greeting women? Is a handshake acceptable in business?

Could help me avoid awkward moments when I arrive! Thanks in advance.

Last edited by pinebluffvariant; Jan 30th 2008 at 6:45 pm. Reason: Spelling
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Old Jan 30th 2008, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by pinebluffvariant View Post
Hi there people,

What is the norm when greeting people in the UAE and Saudi Arabia (and other islamic countries)?

Are things different in business compared to social situations? Is it acceptable to use Asalam-u-alaykum all the time regardless of the ethinicity of the individual?

What about greeting women? Is a handshake acceptable in business?

Could help me avoid awkward moments when I arrive! Thanks in advance.
say "hello"...and shake hands....nothing out of the ordinary...

MM, xx
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Old Jan 30th 2008, 6:56 pm
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by Madam Medusa View Post
say "hello"...and shake hands....nothing out of the ordinary...

MM, xx
Thanks for the response MM! I guess in Dubai, how about more conservative countries like Saudia Arabia?
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Old Jan 30th 2008, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by pinebluffvariant View Post
Thanks for the response MM! I guess in Dubai, how about more conservative countries like Saudia Arabia?
same...lol

MM, xx
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Old Jan 30th 2008, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by Madam Medusa View Post
same...lol

MM, xx
Rule 1: NEVER EVER even offer a handshake to a woman in Saudi Arabia.

Rule 2: NEVER EVER even offer a handshake to a woman in Saudi Arabia.

There are exceptions who will shake hands - but let THEM take the initiative. I have THREE who work for me. I'm literally known as 'Mr Mixed Office' because I was the one who insisted on employing the three ladies because they were..... (takes a deep breath) .... the best candidates.

Only recently would we have been able to do this - five years ago, they would have been required to sit the other side of a glass screen. (We might have ended up dancing, you see....... remind me to tell you that joke sometime)

And of course Mr Mixed Office confirms that it's the 'Snappy Nicknames' capital of the world........

..... or if you end up in Afghanistan, when you and a woman shake hands, it counts as adultery, so she will get lashes followed by a stoning.

Welcome to the region.
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Old Jan 30th 2008, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by Madam Medusa View Post
same...lol

MM, xx
Ok then! How about greeting women in business who look like UAE or Saudi locals. Is it acceptable to shake their hands?
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Old Jan 30th 2008, 7:14 pm
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
Rule 1: NEVER EVER even offer a handshake to a woman in Saudi Arabia.

Rule 2: NEVER EVER even offer a handshake to a woman in Saudi Arabia.

There are exceptions who will shake hands - but let THEM take the initiative. I have THREE who work for me. I'm literally known as 'Mr Mixed Office' because I was the one who insisted on employing the three ladies because they were..... (takes a deep breath) .... the best candidates.

Only recently would we have been able to do this - five years ago, they would have been required to sit the other side of a glass screen. (We might have ended up dancing, you see....... remind me to tell you that joke sometime)

And of course Mr Mixed Office confirms that it's the 'Snappy Nicknames' capital of the world........

..... or if you end up in Afghanistan, when you and a woman shake hands, it counts as adultery, so she will get lashes followed by a stoning.

Welcome to the region.
Thanks for the warning. I am assuming in Dubai it is ok to shake hands with women though? Or should I just play it safe and keep a safe distance?

In the UK I can imagine if there were a roomful of business acquaintances just shaking the hands of the men would seem sexist which is why I ask.
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Old Jan 30th 2008, 7:25 pm
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by pinebluffvariant View Post
Thanks for the warning. I am assuming in Dubai it is ok to shake hands with women though? Or should I just play it safe and keep a safe distance?

In the UK I can imagine if there were a roomful of business acquaintances just shaking the hands of the men would seem sexist which is why I ask.
Don't shake the hands of women dressed head-to-toe in black - unless THEY offer you a handshake first. They probably won't.
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Old Jan 31st 2008, 2:13 am
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Yes acknowledge with a slight head bow and if they offer their hand to shake all okay but never offer first, and do not ignore them either.
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Old Jan 31st 2008, 4:20 am
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

In my day (1998-2006) most Saudi men greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, usually three times...try it and see what happens to you.
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Old Jan 31st 2008, 4:43 am
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by lionheart View Post
In my day (1998-2006) most Saudi men greet each other with a kiss on the cheek
Where I come from, that would be rewarded with a head butt.
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Old Jan 31st 2008, 5:15 am
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

I always find flashing a bit of cleavage gets a good response...
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Old Jan 31st 2008, 7:19 am
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

A lot of the women in bars in Dubai will probably greet you in a very different way
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Old Jan 31st 2008, 8:47 am
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by MataHari View Post
I always find flashing a bit of cleavage gets a good response...
yeah me too.....bum cleavage with my baggy arse jeans.
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Old Jan 31st 2008, 9:57 am
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Default Re: Greeting strangers in islamic countries

Originally Posted by pinebluffvariant View Post
Ok then! How about greeting women in business who look like UAE or Saudi locals. Is it acceptable to shake their hands?
No its not, it they offer their hand, then fine, but u shouldn't offer.

SOme women wont even sit at the same table as guys, its a mare sometimes

Women also should be careful and wait for they guy to offer the handshake

The whole culture thing is a bit of a mindfield really, i have been here 10 years and work with uae naitonals every day and just found out a few months ago that it is also not acceptable for a man to tell a young lady (head covered) that she is pretty or attractive or that her abaya is nice.

There is a great company in Dubai giving training to newbies to the UAE on the culture here.

I will try and find out the name and psot it

AC
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