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Social Work And Its Code Of Ethics In The West And The Arab World

2182 words - 9 pages

It is well known that the social work profession is value-based, that is, professional values in mind should accompany everything social workers do. Yet the argument here is whose values should determine what is right and what is wrong anyway? This query becomes particularly important, when some people of the social work profession expect others to apply “Western” social work Code of Ethics and values to other cultures and societies such as the Middle East or Arab world, without taking into consideration the Arab social worker different perspectives of what is right and what is wrong? Examples of such people are the authors of a journal titled “What is Sacred When Personal and Professional ...view middle of the document...

In many occasions social work was separated from sociology curricula step by step only in the last few years. Yet unfortunately, in many Middle Eastern universities, social work is still taught by social sciences faculty mostly rather than educators that have a degree in the field of social work itself. In the end, the Arab social workers who graduate from GCC Universities with a degree in Social Work do not meet the demands of their Arab clients, the communities they serve, nor the society as a whole. They find themselves in the unfavorable position of practicing a social work with a knowledge base largely placed in sociological theory with little or no real social work skills to help those who come to them for help. This is because social work knowledge and practice maintained Western assumptions regarding human nature and the nature of social problems in their transmission to the Arab world, and these endure till today.
To illustrate how social work Code of Ethics should differ in matter of the multicultural views of the world, the view of education in the west for example, is that it should not be political or religious; however, the situation in the Arab world is unlike the west. As for the Arab or Islamic world, education comes with interlink within religion and politics most of the time. Most Muslim clients construct problems and their solutions with strong reference to faith and religion. Thus, Woodrow (2001), states: “for many cultures and societies (like the Arab culture), the interweave of education with politics and religion represents the ideal, a holistic and comprehensive view of the world and others” and he continues to clarify his point of view, by affirming; “certainly Islam would reject the “Western” view of education of separation as not reflecting the importance of dedicating to Allah the whole of one’s life-actions”. So that confirms the fact that the western Code of Ethics in social work cannot be fully applied to all the cultures with different religious views and different traditions for the west. Another example would be how Islam approaches family involvement, divorce, and traditional healing differently from the West.
Taking family involvement as extended example, according to Al-Krenawi and Graham (2003), the family's involvement in individual helping may be considerable, and could make the social worker's tasks more complex. In Muslim Arab communities, many are raised to consider the family unit as a continual source of support. Extended family members may be highly valued as well. They may be expected to be involved and may be consulted in times of crisis. Although Muslim Arab peoples may value privacy, their personal privacy within the family nearly does not exist. At most times, even decisions regarding health care are not the responsibility of the individual but made by the family group. In some cases, when an individual is in distress, the family may intervene on behalf of the identified...

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