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Arab Diaspora: Shall I Marry a Non-Arab?

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, North America, Bahrain, Canada, Morocco, Palestine, U.S.A., International Relations, Migration & Immigration, Women & Gender

Arab women living in diaspora have hard questions to answer. Should they marry non-Arabs, non-Muslims or converts to Islam? Palestinian blogger Mona, who lives in Canada and blogs at Rebellious Arab Girl, opens [1] a can of worms when she asks these questions in a post, which has attracted 162 comments so far.

Mona writes:

There is a question that I don’t have a real answer for, but it is the most asked question that people ask me. This question is mostly asked because people think that the Rebellious Arab Girl is such a crazy odd girl who will do anything and everything.
Mona, why don’t you just marry a non-Arab? What’s wrong with marrying a convert? Mona, if you don’t like the Arabic culture, why not just marry outside of it and spare us your complaints?

She explains:

My answer is simple. I was raised a certain way, and I don’t want someone to get accustomed to the way I was brainwashed by the family and arabic culture, and I don’t have to get accustomed to his. However it is my choice.

She further adds:

Many Arabs marry non-Arabs. It is known throughout history. A lot of people are against it, and I don’t know why. If it effects you directly, then go ahead and be angry about it. All I know is, that each person is held responsible for their own actions. Let them do what they please. Arab male or female, let them be.

Inter-racial marriages, notes Mona, have their share of misery:

I know there are so many problems with interracial marriages, especially the way Arabs perceive it, but what can you do? Arabs are so picky sometimes that they want their sons and daughters to only marry an Arab. However, this Arab has to be from the same country, speaks the same dialect, and is from the same village. What can you do? This is their mentality. Accept it, or leave it.

And she adds:

I believe that it is logical for an Arab to marry another Arab. If some Arabs think negatively of it, then maybe one day they will see the upside of the whole thing. If those Arabs really want things to change, then maybe they can start by the way they want to live their life, and raise their children in a more modern Arab lifestyle.

In the comments section, the debate is raging.

Moroccan Hajar Benlahmar notes:

if i have to choose between marrying an Arab and non Arab, i would pick the non Arab even I’m an Arab.for one simple reason, i cant bear the Arabic men mentality, which is dogmatic, racist, sexist … just name it
…and any successful woman cant deal with such behavior because an Arabic man cant accept a woman as partner in life, he want her to be under his control following his wills and denying her existence…I don’t wanna generalize, but the most Arabic men are not looking for wife to share life with, but they are looking for domestic servant…My cousin is married to french converted to Islam. they passed their holiday in morocco with us.one day i woke up to find him ironing his and her cloths, then he changed the diapers of their daughter,and he even washed the dishes… he helped in everything…My brother found him cooking dinner he told him ” dude are you crazy!!! she is the one who got to do that, then why you married her” he said with an innocent face ” i married her cus i loved her” lol

Seventeen-year-old Bahraini-German Mariam [2] weighs in, adding:

Marrying an Arab or non Arab doesn’t matter to me, but since my mom is a German convert and my dad is an Arab and I’m a child of a mixed marriage I thought I might let you know the advantages of mixed
marriages. We can speak more than one language; we understand more than one culture, tradition and religion even though we don’t agree totally with it. We are able to change people’s minds from both countries and
traditions because we are related while some stranger isn’t able to. We wipe away prejudice. We are more open minded. And we bring people together.Those are just a few examples.

And Desert Shark [3] shares the following story:

My sister is engaged to an american muslim-convert. It originally caused a lot of distress for my father, who has slowly gotten used to the idea. There was no arab guy who can handle a well-educated, independent and financially secure woman like my sister, the way most arab guys are raised they can’t handle that kind of mentality. So it was no surprise that she found an american guy who can handle being with a woman like her. The idea of arabs marrying non-arabs isn’t easy, I think most see it as going against their own culture. But sometimes you have to follow your heart and be with the person you want to be with.

And finally Najma supports the status quo:

I personally think everyone should stick to their own culture and background. Arab should marry Arabs and so on. It saves alot of trouble, hassle, family conflicts and disagreements. You say some people rather not deal with Arab in laws who wont leave you alone, says who other in laws arent trouble and they wil leave you alone. Honestly alot of problems does occur marrying someone else with other background. If not sooner it will effect you later on, althou their are alot of people I kno who married other backgrounds and are happy. So you never know, but I rather not!