Men have not outgrown their ‘need’ to control others, particularly their women. They want their women to be subservient to their whims, even in America, and in all faith traditions. It is what the men wish that happens. The societies are still misogynistic, and I hope it will change. I am pleased to share the reverse side of the story.
The good news is the change is coming; men have started to feel, talk, and act as equals.
As an interfaith wedding officiant, I usually get calls from women if they can marry the guy from other faith without conversion? No religious group is free from such questions, and I have dealt with people from Bahais to Zoroastrians.
One such story is of a Muslim woman, who has gone through our website www.InterfaithMarriages.org and has read the chapter, ” Can a Muslim woman marry a non-Muslim man?” in the book American Muslim Agenda.
She gets her boyfriend on the phone, and a complicated conversation takes place. Briefly, she asks if her man has to convert to Islam – I said it was his choice, the marriage is between two individuals and not two religions. She flares up for using the word ‘choice’ and asks me what kind of Imam was I? I said, I am not an Imam, but a licensed Interfaith Wedding officiant.
Then she asks me if I can perform their wedding in the Mosque. I said no, religious institutions require conformance to their rules. It is not just Muslims, that is the case with all faith traditions. No clergy would authorize such a happening.
Years ago, about 20 years ago, I remember a wedding between a Christian man and a Hindu woman in Lisbon, Portugal, where the priest was a friend of Bride’s parents and gave them the key to the Church. The next day all hell broke loose for placing Hindu deities on the Church Altar. They demanded resignation from the minister, and I wrote a letter in support of him and asking the Church to withdraw the request. I got phone calls from California, threatening me to support such an incident. A few years ago, a similar thing happened in London, and the fight broke out in a Gurdwara for allowing a Sikh girl to marry a Muslim guy in the Gurdwara. However, I officiated a wedding between a Christian man and a Hindu woman in a progressive Church in Dallas, thanks to Dr. Petra Waldes of lending the church space to perform the wedding in the sanctuary.
The woman said to me, with her boyfriend on the phone that she is not comfortable marrying outside the Mosque and that I was not an Imam. She sprung a surprise on her boyfriend that he has to convert for her sake, and he said he would not. I concluded this was not going anywhere and asked them to resolve their matter. The boyfriend called me later and asked me to rescue the relationship. He said she has been sleeping with him for over two years, and if that was no haram (not permissible) then how come marrying him without conversion is haram.
She has gone from one extreme of women surrendering to the wishes of men to demanding that man surrender to her wishes. It was nothing but ego.
One of my friends in the early ’70s ran into a woman who was in her late sixties, and they met a few times and had excellent conversations. On their fourth visit, she asked him about his religion. He said he was a Catholic, then she said, “we cannot pursue the relationship, I am a Hindu, and my friends may not approve it.” Think about it – she is in her late sixties, and she needs approval, it is an American woman like the other woman.
Though these two incidents are rare, they do exist.
Check this non-nonsensical video where the commentary says Indian women are domesticated. I was embarrassed to hear that line. Unfortunately, there are still men out there, both in America and India who prefer ‘domesticated’ women. That is an insulting word to describe women. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmkAbxdKJhI I hope men will come out of the high horse and learn to walk with women as equals. Thanks to America for paving the pathways for people to fee and act equal and other nations will follow the trend.
Of the thousands of men and women, one person stands out, and if the attraction is mutual, they are in love. God puts love between two souls. Have you ever wondered why some birds and fish migrate thousands of miles to mate, and to the same place year after year. Every life form has magnetic waves built between two lives that bring them together.
Check the chapter, “Can a Muslim woman marry a non-Muslim” in the book American Muslim Agenda available at Amazon, it is also on Kindle. The story is about a Muslim woman, but it will resonate with women from all faith traditions. More about the book at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com
Dr. Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is deeply committed to Religious Freedom, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace, and to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. Book information is at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com and his info at www.TheGhousediary.com
Mike frequently speaks to a full range of audiences in international, faith and interfaith, civic, educational, and community life. He would welcome the opportunity to speak to you and your communities, as well as to invite you to events and programs that he and the Center for Pluralism offer. He also welcomes your thoughts, comments, and inquiries.