this morning (monday 21st), 11.00-11.30am, on bbc radio 4:
Meet the Jewslims
“In Britain there are so many kinds of mixed relationships, people of different colour, culture and religion getting hitched…. So why is it when Jewish and Muslim people get married there are such strong reactions? Both are Abrahamic faiths and have a lot in common in terms of food with Kosher and Halal, circumcision, wearing modest clothes and yet there is such a powerful taboo surrounding this mix.
Jewish/Muslim couples are often cut off from their families and communities. Zubeida Malik tells the story of three couples who crossed this boundary between the personal and the political.
Maryiam has a word to describe her children: “Jewslims.” They are, she says, neither Muslims nor Jews. Those like Mariyam in a Jewish/ Muslim relationship in contemporary Britain are in a growing minority, living under a veil of discretion.
Zubeida starts by meeting Mariyam and her family in Watford. She is Shia Muslim. Her husband is Jewish. Both practice their religions. However, their marriage is not accepted by her community or extended family. When the pair met 33 years ago, Mariyam’s uncles wanted to lock her up and send her back to Tanzania. She was saved by her broad-minded mother. But over the years the pair have had to deal with a surge in fundamentalism, which Mariyam first noticed with the Iranian Revolution and which increased with 9/11. Mariyam says events like these on the world stage affect her community and in turn her marriage.
Lenny is the son of a Holocaust survivor. He and his Iranian wife, Sheherazade, are passionately in love but there was so much tension over Middle East politics that Sheherazade no longer spends sabbath eve with Lenny’s parents. The couple cannot help arguing about Israel – and tell Zubeida it is something they enjoy doing.
Omar and Rachel, who are in their late 20s, met at university. He is a south east Asian Muslim and she is Israeli Jewish. Just three months after meeting they knew they were going to get married and that there were certain issues that needed to be resolved before they finally tied the knot. So over the next couple of years they decided which religion their children would be bought up in, where they stood on the politics of the Middle East and most importantly, they wanted to prepare their families.”
(if you miss it, available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03dfh0r)