What is the etiquette for meeting in Iraq?

  • Like many other countries, you must shake hands and smile at the person you are meeting.
  • The traditional phrase used during meeting is ‘AsalaamuAlaikum’, which means, ‘Peace be with you’. In reply to this, one must say ‘WaAlaikum Salaam’, meaning ‘and Peace be unto you.’
  • Men who are in close friendship with some other male will greet with a handshake and kisses on the cheek. The first kiss is given on the right cheek.
  • If you are invited to a social event, and the crowd is not much, you will be introduced by your host to every guest specially. If the function is happening at a large scale, you will have to introduce yourselves commonly.

What is the proper etiquette for gift giving in Iraq?

  • The Iraqis appreciate sweets as presents. You can bring along chocolates, pastries, cookies, or fruits for them.
  • The tradition of offering flowers to the hostess is slowly evolving here.
  • If a gift is bestowed to a woman by a man, he must not forget to mention that it is on the behalf of his wife or some other female relative.
  • Bringing presents for the children of the household will delight them.
  • Hold the gift item in both your hands while presenting it.
  • It is impolite to open the gift in the presence of the giver.

What is the proper etiquette for eating in Iraq?

  • Ask whether it is necessary for you to remove your shoes outside the house.
  • Conservative and smart clothing style is appreciated.
  • During dinners at local homes, do not bring up the topic of business.
  • Even though the meals are at homes, they are held in a formal manner.
  • If the dishes are laid out on the floor, you are expected to sit cross-legged to eat. If that position is not comfortable, you can kneel on one knee and sit. Make sure that your feet are away from the food mat.
  • Refrain from using your left hand while eating.
  • Leave a morsel of food uneaten on the plate. It will signify that you are satisfied.

Things you should know before going to Iraq?

  • You should acquaint yourself with the rich diversity of Iraq. The country is diverse in the religious, tribal, ethnic as well as linguistic sense. For some people of Iraq, these attributes come before their nationality.
  • People from foreign nations should also know about the various rules and norms of Islam. These norms show the path of how to behave in the daily sense.
  • Iraq was a secular nation till the year 2003. However, due to the chain of disastrous events after that, it has become more religious and also conservative.
  • Pay respect to all objects of Islamic importance such as their holy book, mosques, and also people who are in prayer. Refrain from displaying objects which symbolize other religions, especially in South Iraq.
  • Never talk or contact women in any way, especially in rural areas. Do not take pictures of them either.
  • If you are a woman traveller, you should keep in mind the role and dressing of local Iraqi women, and act and clothe yourself accordingly.
  • Keep knowledge regard the history of the country as the nationals are extremely proud of it.
  • One’s family is given a lot more priority than other people. Individualism and privacy are not much celebrated ideas. If someone gives you less importance in comparison to his family, you should consider it normal.
  • In the south of Iraq, lineage is given much more importance than titles earned by the person or his or her age. Thus, it is important to know the relations between people. 
  • For the Iraqis, tribal identity is held in much prominence as compared to religious or national affiliation. Even the national government has to consider tribal courts for important decisions of the country.
  • Never disrespect or embarrass your Iraqi counterpart who is senior in position or elder to you. On the contrary, giving them respect will earn you a couple of brownie points in the business arena.
  • If any possession or honour of an individual is injured, the inflictor has to compensate for the loss in the form of ‘fasl’. Even if a company takes something which initially belonged to some tribes with the permission of the government, it has to compensate for the loss.
  • Building meaningful relations with Iraqis will go a long way and help you in business.

Also Read: Business etiquette to follow in Iraq

Last update on February 2, 11:01 am by Nidhi S.