Mixed-Muslim marriage in Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Sun – May 30, 2012
Multi-faith Metro Vancouver is a place of high rates of intermarriage and inter-ethnic dating. Islam, now the second largest religion in Canada, teaches that it is sinful for Muslim women, but not Muslim men, to marry outside the faith.
Professor Yvonne Haddad, a prominent Islamic scholar at the University of Massachussets, says that Canadian census figures, which are far more detailed than U.S. census data, reveal the extent of the marriage threat to North America’s roughly two million Muslim women. Statistics Canada census data shows that roughly 30 per cent of Canadian Muslim women marry non-Muslim men, says Haddad.
Children are the crux of the Muslim law against women marrying outside the faith. Islam teaches that Muslim identity is transferred through the father. That makes it all right for Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women, because they don’t pass on the faith.
“There is a lot of heartache if a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim,” says Fehmida Khan, president of the Canadian Muslim Women’s Association. She explains that Muslim imams and other religious officials won’t talk to non-Muslims about difficulties followers have with marriage.
Only about four per cent of foreign-born Muslim women in Canada will intermarry, says Hassan Hamdani, a Muslim researcher who studies Muslim demographics through his job with Statistics Canada in Ottawa. But evidence of second-generation Muslims embracing Canadians’ openness to intermarriage is strong, Hamdani says. Almost 40 per cent of Canadian-born Muslim families consist of a Muslim wife and non-Muslim husband.

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