English and Islam: A Clash of Civilizations?

Dr. Ratnawati Mohd Asraf
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This paper argues that cultural environments shape a student's attitudes towards learning and that teachers should be sensitive to the socio-cultural and socio-political contexts in which learning occurs. Specifically, it discusses Muslim students' attitudes towards learning English and towards English and Western culture and the reasons behind their attitudes. It argues that although English is rooted in the Judeo-Christian culture, and often viewed as a primary vehicle for the transmission of "Western" values, the learning of English is not in conflict with Islamic values.

This paper also presents the Islamic perspective on the role of language in shaping the identities of Muslims and the desired Islamic attitude that Muslims should adopt towards learning languages. It concludes by emphasizing the need for English teachers to take into account the socio-cultural and socio-religious aspects of learning English when teaching Muslim students, and for Muslims to value the importance of learning English for the purpose of acquiring contemporary knowledge.

Keywords: Language and Culture, Multiculturalism, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Cultural Contexts and Learning
Stream: Community, Culture, Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Ratnawati Mohd Asraf

Coordinator of the B.Ed. (TESL) programme, Centre for Education and Human Development, International Islamic University Malaysia

Ref: L05P0450