Marriage of Muslims and non-Muslims

A month ago, I was in the Egyptian embassy and I heard a conversation of Filipino women.  Both of them were married to Egyptian husband and I learned from them that they are required to convert to Muslim prior to their marriages.

When I was in a conference in Helwan, Egypt weeks ago, I met a fellow scientist from Malaysia.  Malaysia, he said, is divided into two parts: Malaysia itself and Sabah.  In his community in Sabah, there were more Christians than Muslims.  Perhaps he is referring to the Bumiputera or the Malays.  According to Malaysia’s constitution:

Article 160 defines a Malay as being one who “professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay customs and is the child of at least one parent who was born within the Federation of Malaysia before independence of Malaya on the 31st of August 1957.” (Wikipedia)

My friend told me that he is against the conversion requirement of non-Muslims who marry Muslims.  This is unfair, he said.  He said that non-Muslims are also legitimate Malaysians and they should be equal under the law.



About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

4 Responses to Marriage of Muslims and non-Muslims

  1. Quuirino, what do you mean to say, with this post? Do you mean to say that a society that calls no religion primary is better than one which does? Do you mean to say that a religion that requires both parties to belong to it, to be married in it, is not as good as a religion that makes no such requirement? Or do you mean to say that if the society and religion that made such demands on the people were Catholic, it would be okay, and all that is wrong in the society described here in the post is that the demander is Islam? And that, as a follow-up, you urge your readers to seek such policies and practices for and from Catholicism, and to work hard to see them realized.

    Are you arguing for secularism? If so, then shouldn’t you say that you are also for the HR bill? It is a policy of secularism–to let those whose beliefs permit it to practice birth control and even to give it to them if they can’t afford to buy it. Those whose beliefs don’t permit it just don’t use it. Simple, under secularism. Of course, after a while, most people are using birth control and the whole society, whatever their practice, will suffer the bad economic and social effects of a falling population, but that’s another argument. Later, soon, the same arguments will be used again for abortion. And Catholic politicians will quote Vatican II and ‘freedom of religion’ to explain their votes. There is not a single secular society that does not go down this path.

    If you argue for ‘freedom of religion’ so that Filipino women who marry Muslims do not have to convert, you are thus doing HR’s work for it.

    It would be better to concede that states need a primary religion,so that there is consistency between the morals enforced by the state and the morals preached by the Faith, and then work like hell to make that religion Catholic. Or so it seems to me. I say work like hell on purpose. Work like the early apostles. Work like saints. Work until we die for it. Be martyred for it. Convert Islam, not make it illegal for a state and a faith to cooperate, or uncool for a faith to respect itself enough to insist on its teachings in the families established under its mantle.

    Are you going to listen to the song of secularism? It’s vile! It’s like being unfaithful to a lover! It is being unfaithful to Christ.

    But perhaps you meant something else. But if you didn’t, well, there are traditional Catholics here in the US also who love the old mass, but also love the new teaching of Vatican II, which is of course secularism all the way, and democracy is the best form of government, even in the Church (collegiality). I’m saying it actually is a common position–but it’s still illogical and ultimately destructive, because those new doctrines are causing so much mischief.

    It is very very difficult to resist secularism, in this day and age. It really is to be ‘hopelessly medieval’ and scores of other slurs to suggest that freedom of religion is not at all cool and really another name for infidelity. But Quirino, dear heart, or dear doctor as I know you are now and not the student I had thought you were, it really IS uncool! The solution to Catholic women being required to convert when marrying Muslims? Don’t marry them! Or require them to convert to Catholicism! Rather than cancelling a logical and strong precept long taught by our own Faith and only abandoned recently.

    I hope I have not offended you, and I apologize for arguing badly, being cold and tired after returning from my Saturday morning shift at the abortion clinic, standing outside, trying to get women not to go in. Your turn is coming, and it will not be the fault of religious pressure on your political bodies,neither Muslim nor Catholic, but the fault of secularism, which you seem to be supporting in this post.

  2. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    Hi White Lily,

    I am still trying to gather my thoughts on this matter. As for now, what I just posted are my experiences for future comment and reflection.

  3. Well okay then! My world looks better, then. It is such a difficult argument. But you, there, and now, not fifty years ago, have the advantage of seeing just what secularism has done to the world since the Council, unlike those of us who have lived under it all our lives and all our country’s life. We never were a religious state. We were always a state in the post-Reformation — deformation– era. Secularism is a deformation of how society ought to work–state and Faith cooperating in getting people to heaven. Secularism wants you to say, getting people wealthier is the state’s mission. It isn’t, and it ruins people. Live here for six months and you’d see. We pretend to be happy. Then we commit suicide.

    I am reading Henri Fesquet’s The Drama of Vatican II. Fesquet was a liberal, covering the Council. His work is almost more revealing than a traditionalist’s! For example, one of John XIII’s opening speeches made reference to ‘religious freedom’ and Fesquet reports that there was an audible gasp in the room, followed by thunderous applause from the liberal bishops. They had won! Fesquet says they had expected the usual teaching of the Church to rule the Council, religious tolerance. When he said ‘freedom’ they knew whose side he was on. ‘Freedom’ is absolute; tolerance is not. Huge difference to those who understood what was being promoted–the abdication of the Church! It was the same political distinction made back in the day, in England, after the reformation, when a big body of priests known as ‘secular’ sued the Vatican to stop fighting for the Restoration of the Faith. They won. England and Catholics in England eventually adopted the principle of ‘religious freedom.’ No more martyrs. Bad idea.

    Here’s the significance, in my mind, vis a vis Islam. Islam can never accept the principle of religious freedom–not and stay Islam. Tolerance, yes, and they have practiced it in the past. But when the Church caved in, the fight became about Islam accepting it, too, or else. If we had remained neutral in this issue, Islam would not now have to kill us along with the secularists. We sided with secularism,though, and now we are dying for it. The Holy Father can no longer bargain with Islam for the lives of his Catholics. We are soldiers in the same army that now promotes divorce, homosexuality, contraception, abortion, and even, with all our dear ‘freedoms,’ bestiality. They do not say they promote these things. They say they promote ‘democracy.’ But it’s an unlimited democracy, a rudderless system that turns its fangs on infants and elderly whenever it likes. The Holy Father praises US democracy and actually calls it “vibrant” (his speech welcoming Obama’s envoy to the Vatican). That’s what the Council did. Oh, if he would only come stand outside an abortion clinic with me on Saturday morning. He’d go mad.

    The Holy Father, by the way, said the Catholics killed in that Iraqui church died for Religious Freedom.

    You do know I don’t criticize him to say he’s not the true pope, or to be disrespectful. He’s just wrong on a couple of things he picked up at the Council. By the way, his name was circulated around Rome during the Council on an official memo from the office that used to be called the Office of the Faith or something close to that, as a theologian to avoid, along with Conger, Rahner, and several others. J. Ratzinger. That’s in the Drama of the Council book. The author apparently didn’t know the young man in question. Bishop Fellay says we must pray very hard that the good in him wins over the bad. Well, I ask for the same prayers, and that’s what I pray for you as well. So far you love the old mass, but are still undecided about the doctrine, if I read things correctly. I’ll never convince you. I’m just a simple woman who would rather sew than discuss these hard things. You are much better suited to discuss them. I imagine it would mean horrible things for you, perhaps material loss, to take unpopular positions. It’s easier for me, I am retired, and even when I worked, I only held a job no one else ever wanted, teaching the poor. There are many job openings for those who love the old mass but give full assent to the rest of the assault. None for those who say no. Only Christ’s hand in friendship.

  4. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    Hi White Lily,

    Thanks for the distinction between religious freedom and religious tolerance. I think Pope Pius X and Pope Leo XIII and other popes have written about these things in their previous encyclicals. I’ll try to read about these things.

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