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The couples were asked to split into four groups (Muslim women, Muslim men, Christian women, Christian men) to discuss and list negotiables and non-negotiables in the form of “I shall” and “I shall not” statements.They were also asked to list their fears, rational or not.(The Canadian Centre for Ecumenism has just published an exellent document, Pastoral Guidelines for Muslim-Christian Marriages.)The dearth of resources, combined with the reluctance of many imams and pastors even to broach the subject, has left Christian-Muslim couples at a loss.To whom can they turn for advice about the unique issues they face?
Muslim women wishing to marry Christian men face the additional worry of potential ostracism from the faith community, for although Islam permits Muslim men to marry “people of the book” (Christians and Jews), Muslim women marry only within the faith.
“But in the end, neither of us was willing to give up our faith.
It’s the core of our existence and identity,” they said.
But there are practically no pastoral resources for Christian-Muslim couples in the United States, despite the fact that according to many estimates, there are now more Muslims in this country than Jews.
The few print resources available to pastors and couples are either outdated or written for a non-American context.