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Lying endemic to Arab culture?

Reader comment on item: Is Tariq Ramadan Lying [about Magdi Allam]?

Submitted by Will Scott (United Kingdom), Mar 6, 2007 at 04:33

This might be 'Baghdad Bob' syndrome. My old Arabic teacher, a Syrian-born professor at one America's largest state universities, told us repeatedly that lying is endemic to Arab culture. He said it is seen as a necessary evil, not only to save people's feelings but in order to save face, and that it is done habitually--so much, in fact, that there is little, if any, conscience about it.

I have found this to be true in my experience, with both Christian and Muslim Arabs with whom I still have close bonds of friendship. I have one Palestinian Christian friend in the West Bank who has told me the same thing, in different words, and who often lies himself without apparently even realizing it! It pains me to see this and pains me more to say it, but I think what my professor told us is true.

And of course, winning debates/arguments largely involves saving face. They just don't seem to realize it's a Phyrric victory, if it's a victory at all.


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