Women marrying Muslims advised to draw up contract

Because of the role of women in Islam, a German Catholic diocese is advising Catholic women who marry Muslims to draw up a new kind of pre-nuptial legal agreement, specifying among other things that marriage is permanent.

According to a German DPA agency report, the president of the Hildesheim diocesan council, Margaretha Meyer, says that most women who marry Muslims are uninformed about possible problems that can develop because of different legal systems in Islamic countries.

"The experience is that the situation for women is different, if they have a contract," Meyer said.

The diocese has prepared guidelines for new marriage partners in light of the growing number of mixed-religion marriages.

The role of a woman in Islam and the divorce laws are much different than Germany's, Meyer said.

"Women who live in Germany have little understanding of the differences because equality is taken for granted here," she said.

The diocese recommends a marriage contract which is recognised in Islamic countries and which provides for division of assets, and freedom for women to make decisions about their work outside the home and their travel. The contract could also exclude emigration to the Islamic homeland of the partner.

In addition, the contract should specify a permanent marriage relationship, taking into consideration that under Shia law, a marriage could be limited to a certain time period.

The diocese urges that the contract also provide for religious education of the children, since the issue often leads to conflicts later, Meyer told DPA.

Despite the concerns and precautionary measures, the diocese said it sees a chance for a deepening of religious belief within the marriage of people of differing beliefs.

"At least this leads to serious discussion and examination of what religion means," Meyer said.

The loyalty of Muslims to Islam often motivates their non-Muslim partners to more intensely study the Christian Bible and the message of Christ, Meyer said.

Diocese urges contract for marriage to Muslims (Expatica, 19/1/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Hildesheim diocese

Widow sues Malaysian govt in battle over Catholic husband's body (CathNews 6/12/06)
No joy for Malaysian Muslim convert to Catholicism (CathNews 25/8/06)
New book explores challenges of interfaith marriages (CathNews 23/9/05)
Ratzinger denies Christianity ´superior´ to Islam (CathNews, 6/3/02)

22 Jan 2007

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