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.

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"), an 80-page booklet issued by the Pontifical Council for the Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

Despite its affectionate title, the document includes a warning against Catholic women marrying Muslim men.

Do not be deceived and become a victim of his religion which has very oppressive rules regarding women's status and rights. While you may be in love, a Muslim man could just be using you to obtain legal immigrant status and citizenship. You must be warned that Islam is more than a religion; it is a way of life, a complete code of the 7th Century pagan Arabian culture that Muslims want to force non-Muslims to adopt.

If there is ever a dispute between you and your Muslim husband, he only needs to travel to a Muslim country and Islamic law, which favor men, would apply. The Muslim's mind is ingrained with the teachings of the Koran and his Muslim culture which favor men.

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).

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.

He may be especially attractive because of his dark good looks, education, financial means and the interest he shows in you.