Marrying Out As A Muslim Woman

I've managed to find myself participating in two research papers this year. The first being for a Columbia School of Journalism student and the second, a PhD student at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Both studies are examinations of Muslim women who chose to marry out of their religion and the impact this had on their lives and relationships with family (and wider community).


eHarmonyUK

I am always happy to join this dialogue, I think it's so important for Muslim women to have a visible voice and lead the conversation on our own lives. But marrying out is still so taboo and few, if any of us, tend to come forward when things get formal and recorded in this way. The idea that an aspect of your personal life can become something academic is, surreal to say the least; but we need to keep talking because, if we don't, who on earth will be speaking for us?

As I've mentioned previously in, "My Life as a Private Person", I'm happy to speak about my experiences with dating and relationships as a Muslim woman, but I always insist on doing so under my pseudonym. Similarly, I tend to lean more towards writing, radio, or podcast projects over anything that involves a camera in my face. So, trust me, I understand the need for discretion and the freedom it affords you to be completely frank about your life.

As you may know, I'm not strictly religious but marrying out, for me, was something that actually brought me closer to my faith. The notion of creating a home that hinged upon two religions forced my husband and I to become a great deal more deliberate about what aspects of our upbringing we wanted to echo in our life together. Our marriage, dare I say, has been rather successful thus far. But marriage isn't for kids, it's real, adult, grown up business and it comes with its own set of stresses, responsibilities, and obligations. It's important to stress this because Bob and I aren't a perfect montage of interfaith joy and merriment all the time. We are flawed and human and just as clueless as all the other newlyweds trying to weather life's chaotic shit storms, one after another, without falling completely apart.


Chibird

Surprisingly, being a Jewish Muslim couple has been the least complicated part of our life together. Rather, our biggest problem has been knowing how to handle the use of pejorative racial epithet in Bob's family (I spoke a little about this in "The P Word"). You see, being interfaith is but one side of the coin, being an interracial couple comes with its own set of issues, as does being a cross-cultural couple. So, we count ourselves rather lucky to have had an issue on only one of these fronts; albeit an enormous issue but, thankfully, the worst is now behind us.

However good, bad or ugly our experiences with interfaith marriage are or have been, it's important to keep talking about it. I get so many messages from readers about this and I wish there were more I could offer than the contents of this blog. We need more voices, we need more unapologetically audacious Muslim women articulating what they want for their own lives and blazing trails with the rest of us.

One of the doctoral students I spoke to is looking to speak to more UK based Muslim women in interfaith marriages for her PhD thesis. If you feel this is something you might like to talk about anonymously or otherwise, you can contact her on Twitter @AyshaInBham or email me at mail@mylifeasanimposter.com and I can pass on your details.

Ayse is interested in examining interfaith marriage from the Muslim woman's perspective so, obviously, I'm a fan. In my experience, women are the backbone of both the Pakistani and Muslim family. I was brought up around such strong, powerful women who knew their own minds and ruled the roost. Every time I'm debating whether or not to contribute to projects like this, I think of them and am filled with the exquisite uproar of a thousand bossy women in my blood, pushing me forward to the nearest microphone. I've never been more grateful for anything in my life.



My Life As An Imposter
Fin.


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