Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Thursday, January 31, 2008

'Visa Blues'


No matter where an immigrant makes their home they have a country of origin, a country they believe 'their's' whether they return or not. Hafiza Nilofar Khan believed the same of Bangladesh. Only did Bangladesh believe it too? Yet another twist in the story of 'where am I, who am I, why am I.'

Nilofar writes:
When I had a civil marriage in St. Helens, Oregon in the year 1998 with a Caucasian American, my father was alarmed since he believed that a Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian man without first converting him into Islam. In my gender ignorance about Islamic rules, I tried to pacify my distressed father by arguing that people who are “ehlekitab”, meaning, believers in the book (Torah, Bible or Koran) may marry each other without having to convert. When my father retorted that only Muslim men are allowed to marry a non-Muslim woman, and not vice versa, I did not grasp the full significance of the convention, and took it for my own religiously inclined father's desire to have a Muslim son-in-law. This August, when I was allowed to leave Dhaka only after paying eighty thousand taka to the Passport and Immigration office in fees and fine, and going through endless stress on account of having a foreigner for a husband, and a daughter, did I realise the actual import of my father's premonitions. If my father were alive today, he might have said, “I forewarned you"
read the rest here


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