Friday, April 26, 2013
I recently returned from a short two-week trip to the US and one of the more common discussions I had with family and friends was about the future of Muslims in the West. I plan on posting my thoughts in some upcoming posts, so let me start things off with a very real concern: Intermarriage.
As Muslims being to assimilate and integrate, I find myself not so worried about some of the more recurring issues such as hijab or drugs or aqeedah – don’t get me wrong, they aren’t trivial, but they aren’t likely to result in offspring completely leaving the religion. On the other hand, the increasing rate of Muslims marrying outside our religion is just such an issue.
What so many Muslims may see as an acceptable practice from the Shariah point of view (where in fact a man marrying a Christian or Jewish woman is sanctioned, as they are People of the Book), is in my mind a very dangerous practice that will all too often result in future generations essentially leaving Islam.
As if the pressures of modern Western culture are not strenuous enough on a young Muslim, adding to the mix the life-long presence of a non-Muslim mother is, needless to say, very harmful.
And so I found this Washington Post article quite timely as it reinforced my recent concerns.
One interesting discussion I had was with my brother-in-law, who suggested that if I wanted to study the future of Muslims in the West, I ought to look at the Jews when they first arrived to the US. At the time of their arrival, they had a most similar makeup to us Muslims, in that they had relatively high levels of religious observation, a formal law like our Shariah, and restrictions on intermarriage.
And what I found was quite disturbing. When they first arrived in the late 19th century, Jews were intermarrying at a 4% rate. After nearly a century, their intermarriage has skyrocketed to nearly 50%. And this is from a religion in which intermarriage is strictly forbidden!
And as a consequence, as more Muslim men decide to intermarry, Muslim women will be left with little choice but to follow suit. This article from Al-Jazeera documents this inevitable rise in women marrying outside the faith.
Now some of you may be thinking, ‘How does this affect me or my children? They are being raised in a strictly observant household where intermarriage is not an option.’ That may be true, but can the same be said for two or three generations down the line?