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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Interfaith marriage discussed


Nayel Badareen, a postdoctoral fellow in the UA School of Middle Eastern & North African Studies, will be giving a lecture this afternoon titled “Interfaith Marriage: Can a Muslim Woman Marry a Non-Muslim Man?”

“I am among many of the Muslim-Arab men who are skeptical about many of the Islamic rulings and laws which discriminate against women in Islam,” Badareen said.

As an Arab-American, Badareen said he witnessed many of his friends and acquaintances suffer from these archaic laws. “Some of my friends who married people from outside the Islamic faith had to escape to the West.” 

He said they feared “retaliation from their relatives and the Muslim government in their homeland.” 

Badareen hopes to “inform the American public … and Muslims in particular about some of the Islamic laws written by Muslim jurists which did not grant women equal rights.”

Badareen added that many of these Islamic laws are outdated and unfair to women, which is why he proposes a reform.  

“I hope to educate others to not be intimidated by Islamic law, … [which] should not be considered static or frozen in time,” Badareen added.  

Islamic law, according to Badareen, is there to serve a community and its members. However, these laws have been in the books since the 10th century with minor changes since then.

“While I respect the efforts of the past and current Muslim scholars who wrote the Islamic laws (fiqh), … I am calling for reform of these laws, particularly the ones which consider women to be inferior to men,” Badareen said.

The lecture is open to all, and Badareen said he encourages men and women who are curious about family in Islam and Muslim women who are looking for answers to attend. 

“If a Muslim man has the right to marry from outside his faith, then a Muslim woman must be granted the same rights,” Badareen stated.

Current Islamic law, which according to Badareen was written by men to serve men, allows Muslim men to marry a Christian or Jewish woman. In addition, the law forbids Muslim women from marrying a Jewish or Christian man.

“This is a clear case of discrimination against women,” Badareen said. “This law has been on the books for centuries and was only challenged a few years ago by a handful of Muslim men and women and this, very simply, needs to change.”  

Badareen will also be discussing a current proposal in Lebanon which could potentially allow Muslim women to marry outside their religion. 

“It is sad to see a couple in love forced to flee their homeland, leaving behind friends, families and the memory of their childhood to live in exile for the rest of their lives because they loved someone who practiced a different religion,” Badareen said. 

Centuries ago, according to Badareen, illiteracy was very common. Badareen added that nowadays, the majority of Muslims are well-educated, which allows them to closely analyze certain cases without being influenced by religious clerics to provide them with answers. 

“It is just as sad … to see a Muslim woman in the West who is unable to marry the Western man she loves because he is not Muslim,” Badareen added. 

Badareen’s lecture is just one of the several which form part of Christian Sinclair’s MENAS Colloquium Series. 

Sinclair, assistant director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, is heavily involved in bringing events that are related to Middle Eastern cultures, peoples, languages, histories and current events. 

“This colloquium series is important because it showcases what UA faculty are researching and affords the UA community the opportunity to see what academics from other institutions are researching,” Sinclair added.

The lecture will be held today at 3 p.m. in the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center, Auditorium 120.


Follow Terrie Brianna on Twitter.

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