Iraqi Culture

Etiquette

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Basic Etiquette
  • Stand for those older than you to greet them, and offer your seat if there are none available.
  • Men should stand for women—especially those with children.
  • Do not cross your legs when facing someone.
  • Sitting in a manner that allows one’s shoe to face another person is considered an insult.
  • The Iraqis take pride in their hospitality. It is considered an honour to host guests, and therefore invitations to attend dinner or occasions at Iraqi homes are often offered quite early on in friendships. People also enjoy ‘showing off’ their friends or family to their peers and may invite them over for that purpose.
  • In restaurants and cafes, an Iraqi may insist on paying the bill—especially in a small group or business setting. The best response would be to offer a contribution.
  • If you show admiration for an item or compliment a possession, an Iraqi may feel obligated to offer the item as a gift. Thus, it is best to avoid making too many comments on objects that are portable and expensive in people’s homes.

Visiting
  • When invited to an Iraqi home, it is customary to bring a gift.
  • Dressing casually for social events or house gatherings can be perceived as a lack of respect to the host.
  • It is best practice to take off your shoes when entering a household.
  • Stay at the door until you are directed by the host to your seating area.
  • The genders are separated in most social visits. Men socialise with the men in one room, and women in another. The female hosts generally bring food and refreshments to the men before leaving and joining the women again.
  • When entering an Iraqi home with an agenda, consider that they may not ‘get straight down to business’ and are likely to begin any serious discussion with small talk and refreshments.
  • You will likely be offered a drink of tea or coffee. It is good manners to accept this as it shows that you value the friendship and their hospitality as well.
  • Some Iraqis may sit on pillows on the floor in their homes.Wash your hands before eating.
  • If fruit is offered, the best decorum is to cut slices off for yourself as you eat instead of biting into it.
  • Leave a little food on your plate when you are finished as eating everything on your plate indicates that you would like another serving.
  • The Iraqis are generally exceptionally hospitable. They can be so generous to the point that they accidentally embarrass their Australian guests or make them feel awkward. For example, it is often expected that the guest will accept what is offered. If you refuse something, they may see it as a token protest made out of politeness and will therefore insist that you receive what is given instead of accepting your refusal. This can lead to awkward situations in which an Australian can feel the offer is being forced upon them. However, the closer you are to a person, the more acceptable it is to decline their offers of food and beverages.

Gifts
  • Gifts represent friendship to the Iraqis — the monetary cost of the object is not taken strongly into consideration. Take care to make sure the timing of gift is appropriate. It should compliment gesture of friendship it offers (for example, giving a gift when visiting or when your friend is ill).
  • Offer gifts with either the right hand only or both hands and receive them in the same way.
  • Appropriate gifts to give a host could be flowers, sweets or small gifts for their children.
  • Never give alcohol as a gift to a devout Muslim or any Iraqi you do not have a close personal relationship with.
  • Do not open a gift immediately after receiving it.
  • Be aware that giving very expensive items can be misinterpreted as bribery.
Iraq
  • Population
    34,768,761
    0.48% of World Population
  • Languages
    Arabic (official)
    Kurdish (official)
    Turkmen (official)
    Assyrian (official)
  • Religions
    Islam (99%)
    ~ Shi'a (60-65%)
    ~ Sunni (32-37%)
    Christianity (0.8%)
    Other (0.1%)
  • Ethnicities
    Arab (75-80%)
    Kurdish (15-20%)
    Turkoman, Assyrian or Other (5%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (40.69%)
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 95
    Individualism 30
    Masculinity 70
    Uncertainty Avoidance 85
    Long Term Orientation 25
    Indulgence 17
    What's this?
  • Australians with Iraqi Ancestry
    28,001
Iraqis in Australia
  • Population
    48,170
  • Average Age
    37
  • Gender
    Male (51.6%)
    Female (48.4%)
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (35.7%)
    Islam (32%)
    Assyrian Apostolic Christianity (11.9%)
    Other (20.4%)
    No Religion (1.6%)
  • Ancestry
    Iraqi (36.8%)
    Assyrian (20.7%)
    Chaldean (12.4%)
    Other (19.5%)
  • Languages
    Arabic (52.5%)
    Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (23%)
    Chaldean Neo-Aramaic (13.5%)
    Kurdish (3.3%)
    Other (7.7%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (68.1%)
    Not Well (29.9%)
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (60.9%)
    Victoria (26.6%)
    Western Australia (5.4%)
    Queensland (3.2%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (43.6%)
    2001-2006 (25.5%)
    2007-2011 (26.9%)
Where do we get our statistics?
Country IQ Flag