Muslim Men on gender, love, and community

Part 2: An interracial marriage: Over my dead body

Although it took many months of persistent coaxing on our and the community elders’ parts, my wife and I prevailed; even after we tied the knot though, I continued to feel burdened by the suspicion that we were only one among hundreds, if not thousands, of American Muslim couples who fought against families and communities opposed to their interracial marriage. Within the Muslim community, I realized the power of the unthinkable: When it came to marriage, some Muslims couldn’t even entertain the thought of marrying individuals from particular “groups.” The idea of a black Muslim man marrying an Arab Muslim girl was inconceivable. Joining an Indonesian and a Pakistani in holy matrimony…forget about it.

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Part 1: An interracial marriage: Over my dead body

Seven years ago, I married a wonderful woman. My wife-to-be was an Arab-American Muslim and I was a Cuban-American Muslim. Both she and I considered our ethnic identities incidental; after all, although my Cuban family raised me and she was brought up by her Algerian parents, we both shared the “American” after the hyphen, which made us quite compatible. For starters, English was our stronger language. We also had a similar taste in books and films, shared congruous views on the philosophy and practice of our faith, and both knew who “The Simpsons” were. We were a perfect fit, or so we thought.

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Bridging the communication divide

In laying the groundwork for productive discussion on dating, it is essential to pay close attention to how we communicate with one another. Four panelists kick start a discussion on the communication divide between Muslim men and women, and how it must change on both the individual and communal level (Anas Coburn’s recent article also takes an in-depth look at this issue). This is the beginning of a complex and multi-faceted conversation that will expand throughout the Dialogues, and so we encourage readers to sustain it by sharing their own perspectives and questions.

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Islam and manhood

The infamy of Islamist terrorism over the past decade has created an image of the Muslim man as intrinsically prone to violent behavior, even if directed toward the self rather than the other. The image of the angry, flag-burning, chanting Muslim man has come to symbolize male violence. However the photos fail to explain that, firstly, the anger, in many instances, is justified, secondly, that the chants rarely spill over into to physical violence, and thirdly that violence is not exclusive to Muslim men.

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