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A Muslim woman may not marry an unbeliever while a Muslim man may marry Christian and Jewish women." If the European men convert to Islam, that changes everything, he went on; then, Moroccan women may marry them.

"Islam only requires two witnesses for someone to be able to convert and [then] such a marriage is valid." But this is not to be undertaken lightly: "If a European then decides to abandon Islam, Muhammad's words apply to him: those who renounce their own religion must be killed, as they are apostates." Tawil's position represents classic Shari'a but it contravenes the 2005 reforms of the Mudawana, Morocco's family law, which eased the way for foreigners to marry Moroccan women.

Indeed, almost 6,000 such marriages were registered in Morocco in 2007 – about six times as many as a decade earlier and more than the number of Moroccan men who married foreign women that year (which was just over 4,300). 1, 2008 update: Asked about mixed marriages, Mariano Crociata, the new secretary-general of the Italian Bishops' Conference, replied that they are not encouraging, because with the passage of time there is often a return to [the spouses'] cultural, social, religious, and legal origins, with sometimes dramatic consequences, which the children pay for. 14, 2009 update: Another cardinal weighs in, this time the head of the Catholic Church in Portugal, Jose Policarpo.

He advised Christians to respect Muslims and to learn more about Islam.

For those American women reluctant to wear an abaya (the all-encompassing black cloak) and for those Saudi husbands who did not make an issue of the abaya prior to arriving, the intense public scrutiny that starts at the airport—given to a western woman who is accompanying a Saudi male—is usually the catalyst for the eventual covering up.

Since the overwhelming majority of American citizen wives never travel to the Kingdom prior to their marriage, they are abruptly catapulted into Saudi society.

One of the most important tasks of Catholic associations, volunteer workers and counselling services will be to help these families educate their children and, if need be, to support the least protected member of the Muslim family, that is the woman, to know and insist on her rights.There is the universal recollection of approaching Riyadh and witnessing the donning of the black abayas and face veils by the fashionably dressed Saudi women.For many women, the Saudi airport is the first time they see their husband in Arab dress (i.e., the thobe and ghutra).Note to readers: This weblog entry on official advice to women not to marry Muslim men has, to my surprise and delight, become the springboard for an intense, heated, and personal dialogue between non-Muslim women romantically involved with Muslim men.Judging by a number of testimonies, the site has proved valuable to many women benefiting from advice and the sharing of information; for a couple of examples see the postings by Sally, Nourshehane, Jeweler46, and Cindy (starting here, continuing here, and ending here).AKI reports today that, in response to the growing number of Moroccan women who are marrying European men, Sheikh Mohammed al-Tawil of Fez, Morocco insisted in an interview with Al-Arabiya television that marriage between Moroccan women and non-Muslim European men is unacceptable."This kind of marriage, between Moroccan women and European men, is forbidden by the Koran and the Sunna.It does not matter whether he practices Islam or not. Becoming a Muslim's wife would mean you are sacrificing your freedom. If you hope to have a successful married life, consider finding a Christian man. If you are married to a Muslim, never even consider giving up your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ under any situations.June 25, 2008 update: But not all the advice against intermarriage is directed to non-Muslim women.Further, if an Italian woman marries a Muslim immigrant and they move to his country of origin, her rights are "not guaranteed in the way they are in Italy or in other Western nations." Such marriages, the statement concluded, should therefore be discouraged. 26, 2005 update: Stephen Fumio Hamao, a Japanese Catholic cardinal, wrote in 2004 about the "bitter experiences" of European women who marry Muslims. 23, 2007 update: The Kamil Internaltional Ministries Organization of Raleigh, North Carolina, has published a tract, "Why Women Should Not Marry Muslims?" It begins by contrasting verses from the Koran and New Testament: Because our country receives people of all nationalities, cultures and religions, you may meet and develop a relationship with a Muslim man.

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