Part 1 of the debate: Muslim women should be able to marry non-Muslim men

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect” (30:21, Y. Ali). “I’m not against capture and convert,” a male Muslim friend of mine frequently provides this jocular rejoinder in discussions about finding solutions to the rising number of successful, accomplished, unmarried Muslim American women in their 30s.

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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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