Dear Dana is a regular, interactive feature in Vancouver Family Magazine. Each month, mediator Dana Greyson tackles tough questions with insightful advice and suggestions.
Dear Dana, My daughter’s new boyfriend is Muslim. I’m concerned she won’t be respected. My husband tells me I should just let their relationship run its course, that if we push, it will just push her away from us and that at 16, she’ll move on eventually if we just leave it be. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m not sure how he does or doesn’t figure into our plans with extended family. If I do invite him, what do I need to know? – Concerned Christian Mom Dear CCM, It’s heartening that you ask the question, “What do I need to know?” Your daughter has presented you with a wonderful opportunity for learning! Let’s start there, addressing just a few basics and some common misconceptions. A Muslim is one who practices the religion of Islam; Islam is defined as “one who submits to God.” As Christianity’s roots spring from Judaism, the Islamic faith, which came along after Christianity, accepts Jesus, like Mohammad, as a religious prophet. Just as the worst of the West is often what’s portrayed abroad, sadly, it’s much more the extremist Islamic activities, not the mainstream reality that permeates our media. When it comes to women’s rights, according to the Qur’an (akin to the Christian bible) the Islamic faith is surprisingly progressive in many ways, equally encouraging men and women alike to treat everyone with respect, and actively engage in the pursuit of knowledge. Certain cultures choose to violate the Qur’an in their limitation of and repression of women; for example, cultures which promote forced marriages, denial of women in the workplace, or restrict women from driving. Even in the case of wearing headscarves, it is a matter of choice, and is not dictated by the religion. Keep in mind, just as not all Christians embrace their religious beliefs and traditions in the same way, the degree to which Muslims practice their faith and live it in their daily lives varies, too.
Want to learn more about the Islamic faith, its practices and find community connections? • An easy-to-read primer on the Islamic Faith: www.islamicity.com • Contemporary Islamic information: www.islamfortoday.com • Local Islamic Community Resources: o Islamic Society of Southwest Washington 1000 NE 66th street, Vancouver, WA 98665, USA Phone: 94-7799Email: email@example.com o Portland-based Muslim Educational Trust holds a monthly Dinner and Family Forum on the second Saturday of every month, for more info check www.metpdx.org or call 503579-6621. Special thanks to Vancouver’s Dr. Khalid Khan of the Islamic Society of Southwest Washington, for providing perspective and resource information.
If the tables were turned, and your daughter as a Christian was in the minority, my guess is you would not first want her viewed as “a Christian”, rather you’d prefer she be accepted simply for who she is first, and her religion later. Giving her boyfriend that same courtesy, what would your normally want to know about any boyfriend your daughter has? What is she normally willing to share? Consider connecting during some traditional bonding time for you, rather than intense,
Vancouver Family Magazine • www.vancouverfamilymagazine.com • November 2010
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