When we – a Muslim and a Christian – fell in love, we didn't think much about the Even those who share the same religious affiliation do not. According to all four schools of Sunni law and Shia Muslim men are allowed to marry non-Muslim women from the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and Christians). The date went so well that he Saks, who was born in When he told his parents he has met and fallen in love with a Palestinian Christian girl they.
I was the second youngest of four children and both my brother and older sister had had them. When we were teenagers in the 80s, my best friend Amolak and I would prowl the Arndale Centre in Luton and debate whether it would ever be possible to satisfy both our families and our hearts.
I had grown up knowing that few things would disappoint my family more than my having a white girlfriend. Marrying one was unthinkable — beyond the pale — and so by my 30s I was set on trying to find someone who would tick both boxes: British enough for me and Pakistani enough for my family.
By the summer of I was about to turn 37, and emerging from a three-year relationship with a British-Pakistani woman; the plan was for some no-strings fun before resuming the search for the elusive British-Pakistani Miss Right. Bridget was going to India for seven months that autumn; in the meantime she could be my blonde distraction. I kept telling myself that our relationship was doomed, but the more time we spent together the closer we became.
Bridget shortened her trip to India to four months and I went out to spend the last six weeks with her. On returning home I felt certain I loved her but did not know how to respond to my feelings.
What happens when you fall in love across the religious divide? | Life and style | The Guardian
There were so many challenges. I was nervous about having mixed-race children and worried about my cultural heritage being lost rather than passed down.
I also didn't want to become the cliched middle-class ethnic minority who confirms his entry into the establishment by marrying white. Most importantly, I did not want to have to live with the scalding guilt of knowing I had let my family down. I shared my doubts with Bridget and she listened carefully before pointing out that I was talking rubbish. She also noted that my father, who had died inhad, in his own way, been a pioneer: Was it so wrong to be have found someone I cared about, and who cared about me?
The more I listened, the more Bridget began to make sense. If she, as a white, nominally Christian Scottish woman, was not agonising about being with a brown, vaguely Muslim British Pakistani man, why was I so nervous about being with her? Bridget and I had been together seven months before I told my mother about us. I had been trying to soften her up with broad hints about how I didn't think I would ever find a British-Pakistani woman who would be right for me.
And then, one icy January afternoon, we were both sitting in her living room with a Pakistani soap opera on the television when my mother asked, "So who is this white girl you are seeing?
She seemed to take the news astonishingly well. She mentioned that it was essential Bridget convert to Islam but I carefully side-stepped that issue and instead pulled out photographs of my girlfriend in India riding elephants, making chapattis and generally acting almost Asian. My mother urged us to marry. Some months later I took her to Rome and it was there, under a full moon, that I asked her if she would consent to be my wife.
When we returned to Britain I told my mother, and she agreed to attend the wedding. She mentioned again that it was crucial that Bridget convert to Islam and, again, I changed the subject. Although my mother had seemed relaxed, when I spoke to my younger sister I discovered that this had been merely a front, and in fact she was deeply unhappy that I was marrying a non-Muslim.
She was not sleeping and skipping meals. The rest of my family were equally opposed. Living in London it had been easy, surrounded by liberal-minded friends, to assume everyone thought like me. In Luton relationships like the one between Bridget and me were rare and dangerously radical. My brother and his wife live next door to my mother and younger sister my older sister is relatively nearby, in Bedford.
The world in which they exist is largely made up of other working-class Pakistani Muslims. How would they explain my marriage to the people they would run into at the halal butchers? When I came to Luton, I would be summoned to family meetings attended by my brother, his wife and their two children, along with my mother and younger sister.
It was not Bridget they blamed, but me: It is also possible that if she is married to a man from a family who holds orthodox beliefs, she could face discrimination from her in-laws etc. A Lahore-based human rights lawyer, who has been elected Chairperson of the HRCP twice, who was "instrumental in the formation of Punjab Women Lawyers Association" and the Women Action Forum, and who "was one of the leading figures in the campaign waged by the women activists against the promulgation of the controversial Hadood Ordinance and Family Laws," provided the following information in correspondence to the Research Directorate: In my experience there is no obvious bias against a foreign Christian wife in Pakistan.
However, if there are differences in the marriage these prejudices surface. In a number of custody cases, non-Muslim foreign women are subjected to humiliating treatment in court. Wild allegations are made against them and they are painted as promiscuous women simply because they are not Muslims.
Courts do not discourage such humiliation 5 Mar. In an opinion piece published by Dawn, the author explains that by virtue of verse 5: However, in its annual report that was published in MayChristian Solidarity Worldwide CSWa "human rights charity working on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs, [and] promot[ing] religious liberty for all" CSW n.
This usually means little more than the adoption of a 'Muslim' name, which is used on her marriage registration documents Nikahnama. As such, someone called 'Mary' is often known as 'Maryam' on her nikahnama etc. The matter of whether this name is used in everyday life depends entirely on the woman herself, the husband and possibly the family. There may also be some pressure from clerics conducting [the] marriage to use a Muslim name and make a 'conversion', but this is usually no more than cosmetic.
However, if a family, or the woman's husband, is particularly orthodox in terms of beliefs and practices, they could insist that if she has converted, she also follow Islamic practices. They decided it was time to get the families involved. The job was not difficult for Saks. When he told his parents he has met and fallen in love with a Palestinian Christian girl they were forthcoming. Suzie, however, did not expect the same enthusiasm from her family.
Saks and Suzie wanted to "absorb" as much of each other's culture as possible.
As predicted, her attempts to get them to accept Saks did not bear fruit. While she managed to win over her mother, one sister and one brother, others were not on board. After a year-long struggle, the couple finally got married.
Interfaith marriage in Islam - Wikipedia
Today, Suzie and Saks have a boy. Suzie is a standup comedian in New York. Suzie manages to find the funny in her situation and is currently writing a book titled I Married a Muslim and No One Died. The learning continues to this day.
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Being open to different cultures is the only way to fight racism, they believe. At her funeral, she met her brother who had been angry with her all those years. This is where Chaudhry was born and brought up.
She believes these experiences have informed her career choice. She met her husband, John Kravitz when she initially came to Pennsylvania to interview for a legal job.