Hi! I need help with my main character. She’s an Arab girl , and I want her culture to be important for her. But most of the Arab traditions I’ve read about are deeply connected with religion, and she’s an atheist. Also I cant’ find much information about the culture of the countries her family comes from (Lebanon and Palestine). Oh and she doesn’t live in the ME. She speaks Arabic, eats Arab food and reads Arab writers. Am I going on the right track? I really don’t wanna be offensive. Thanks!
I definitely think you’re on the right track. While it may seem like a lot of Arab cultures and traditions are intertwined with Islam, that’s not always the case. A big emphasis on family, amazing food, music and dance (khaleeji!), a rich history, an endless collection of literature and awesome poetry are just a few of the things that come to mind for me. Also, if your character is an atheist but her family is not, she will probably still celebrate holidays with them too, like Eid el Ftr and Eid el-Adha.
Palestine and Lebanon, the latter especially, are seen as less strict with regards to conservatism. Also, if you want to be true to your character I would highly recommend making clear the affect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has had on her; I have yet to meet a Palestinian whose life was not somehow damaged by it. Whether it is that her family was forced to move, or that she struggles with holding onto her Palestinian identity, or both, or something else, it’s an important subject.
As I am not from Palestine and Lebanon I cannot speak to the specifics of those experiences, but I welcome followers from there to reblog with commentary and/or offers to help out, you can check diversitycrosscheck or our POC profiles, and you can also probably find bloggers or YouTubers from around there for first-hand research.
Steven Lawrence Kasler (March 14, 1967 - November 8, 2014) passed away while serving time at the Lebanon Correctional Institution in Lebanon, OH. In 1998 Kasler was arrested in Medicine Lodge, KS and over the next several months confessed to 34 murders. After his conviction for the murder of Charlotte Lane he recanted his confession. He remains the main suspect in a string of unsolved homicides and cold cases.