The Effect of "Our Brothers and Sisters in Humanity" Programme on Omani Secondary School Girls‘ Cultural Tolerance.
thesisposted on 22.06.2009, 11:09 by Fatma Al-Saadi
The globalization phenomenon is becoming a driving force of era–defining changes in the nature of societies and economics across the world. To a large extent, it has created a borderless world in which different cultures have become closer and interact with each other. In this multicultural world, relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, particularly those in the West, have become a pertinent and contentious issue. Events such as the attacks of September 11th, 2001, the Bali nightclub bombings in 2002, the London bombings on July 7, 2005, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have questioned the relations between Muslims and Westerners, and renewed interest in Huntington‘s "clash of civilization thesis". This study explores the potential effects of the school-based intervention titled "Our Brothers and Sisters in Humanity" on Omani 10th grade female students, regarding their tolerance toward other religions, Western culture and Westerners. The effectiveness of the intervention programme was determined using a quasi-experimental design using two experimental and two control schools. The questionnaire was administered before and after the intervention to a sample of 241 girls, of whom 116 were in the experimental group and 125 in the control group. A semi-structured interview was conducted before and after the intervention with 16 participants, of whom 8 were from the experimental group and 8 from the control group. Analysis of the quantitative data in post-intervention round reveals that there were statistically significant differences between the experimental group and the control group in tolerance toward other religions, Western culture and Westerners. Analysis of the qualitative data from the pre-intervention interviews conducted with the participants in both the experimental and the control group revealed low tolerance toward extending liberties to those who were different in terms of religious faith. Yet in the post-intervention interviews the experimental groups showed greater tolerance. The findings gave empirical support to the Social Identity theory, one of the most important theories to explain Omani girls‘ intolerance toward other religions, Western culture and Westerners. Future research should be directed towards examining the effectiveness of the interventions for different populations and school levels.