Caution: These are broad generalizations and should not be used to stereotype any individuals.

Communication should be two-way. You many need to share information about yourself in order for them to share information about themselves. Healthcare providers may be expected to take a personal interest in their patients.

Direct eye contact with members of the opposite sex may be interpreted as a sign of sexual interest, particularly from female to male.

Family/Gender Issues
Be patient with "demanding" family members; they may see it as their job to make sure that the patient gets the best care possible. Repetition of demands is often made to show emphasis, as is a loud tone of voice.

Personal problems are usually taken care of within the family; they will probably not be receptive to counseling.

It is usually appropriate to speak first to the family spokesman.

Sexual segregation is usually extremely important. Assign same-sex caregivers whenever possible, and maintain a woman's modesty at all time.

Accept the fact that women may defer to husbands for decision-making regarding their own and their children's' health. This is not necessarily a sign of spouse abuse.

Accept that the husband may answer questions addressed to his wife.

Islam is a dominant force in the lives of most Middle Easterners

Allow them privacy to pray several times a day, facing east toward Mecca.

Many have a fatalistic attitude regarding health: it's all in Allah's hands, so their (health-related) behavior may be of little consequence.

They may not want to plan for birth or death; it can be seen as challenging the will of Allah.

Expression of Pain
They often tend to be loud and expressive, especially during childbirth, after someone has died, and when they are in pain.

Pregnancy & Birth
They may not make many preparations for birth.

It is acceptable for women to be very loud & expressive during labor and delivery.

Male circumcision common.

End of Life Issues
May be reluctant to agree to DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) or to plan for death.

May not allow organ donation or autopsy, since according to Islam, body should be returned to Allah in the condition in which it was given.

Health Related Practices
Damp, cold, drafts, and strong emotions may be thought to lead to illness.

Evil eye (envy) may be thought to cause illness or misfortune. Amulets to prevent this may be worn and should not be removed.

They may be used to heavy use of medications & may feel slighted if not given prescription.

When providing meals, be aware that Muslims may not eat pork.

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