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Note to readers: This weblog entry on official advice to women not to marry Muslim men has, to my surprise and delight, become the springboard for an intense, heated, and personal dialogue between non-Muslim women romantically involved with Muslim men.

Judging by a number of testimonies, the site has proved valuable to many women benefiting from advice and the sharing of information; for a couple of examples see the postings by Sally, Nourshehane, Jeweler46, and Cindy (starting here, continuing here, and ending here).

A Muslim woman may not marry an unbeliever while a Muslim man may marry Christian and Jewish women." If the European men convert to Islam, that changes everything, he went on; then, Moroccan women may marry them.

"Islam only requires two witnesses for someone to be able to convert and [then] such a marriage is valid." But this is not to be undertaken lightly: "If a European then decides to abandon Islam, Muhammad's words apply to him: those who renounce their own religion must be killed, as they are apostates." Tawil's position represents classic Shari'a but it contravenes the 2005 reforms of the Mudawana, Morocco's family law, which eased the way for foreigners to marry Moroccan women.

For those American women reluctant to wear an abaya (the all-encompassing black cloak) and for those Saudi husbands who did not make an issue of the abaya prior to arriving, the intense public scrutiny that starts at the airport—given to a western woman who is accompanying a Saudi male—is usually the catalyst for the eventual covering up.

Since the overwhelming majority of American citizen wives never travel to the Kingdom prior to their marriage, they are abruptly catapulted into Saudi society.

In any case, the marriage between a Catholic and a Muslim, if celebrated in spite of all this, requires not only canonical dispensation but also the support of the Catholic community both before and after the marriage.

One of the most important tasks of Catholic associations, volunteer workers and counselling services will be to help these families educate their children and, if need be, to support the least protected member of the Muslim family, that is the woman, to know and insist on her rights.His sweet words and attention may blind you regarding the influence of his Muslim religion and culture.Because we have freedom of religion, he may agree that you can keep your religion and you may think there will be no problem with such a marriage. Very often there is a motive behind such a marriage.Here is the key passage: When, for example, a Catholic woman and a Muslim wish to marry, ...bitter experience teaches us that a particularly careful and in-depth preparation is called for.Indeed, almost 6,000 such marriages were registered in Morocco in 2007 – about six times as many as a decade earlier and more than the number of Moroccan men who married foreign women that year (which was just over 4,300). 1, 2008 update: Asked about mixed marriages, Mariano Crociata, the new secretary-general of the Italian Bishops' Conference, replied that they are not encouraging, because with the passage of time there is often a return to [the spouses'] cultural, social, religious, and legal origins, with sometimes dramatic consequences, which the children pay for. 14, 2009 update: Another cardinal weighs in, this time the head of the Catholic Church in Portugal, Jose Policarpo.

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