Which religion are you raising your son?
This is a question we were both asked on the daily after I found out I was pregnant, but moreso after we found out it was a boy. I couldn’t believe people had the gull to ask this question. Who are they to ask how I will raise my child? But let’s face it, we received this response from the beginning of our time.
Let’s take it back to where we ran into one another, the summer of 2006 (no, not the summer of ’69), Mikey, whose birth name is Mohamad, and I went to high school together and graduated in the same class, so we knew one another. We began dating and this is where I was schooled on the Muslim religion. I had absolutely zero idea of any other religions until this point in my life. I was raised Catholic, and was a Catholic schoolgirl dropout, who graduated from a public school. Our high school was a very cultural high school, my nickname for it was United Nations because it was a melting pot of so many different ethnicities and cultures, however, I never acquainted myself with getting to know the different religions beyond my own.
Fast forward to Mikey and I getting serious and discussing marriage. Neither one of us wanted to divert from how we were raised, so converting was not an option. We were both in our late 20’s at this point, and felt strongly about our religious beliefs. It was a very hot topic for both of us, but we loved one another and didn’t want to not move forward because of religion. Our morals and values were the same, but our religion is different. We had to find a way to make this work. When there is a will there is a way, right?!
Many people said, “oh my gosh his family must have disowned him.” No they were not jumping up and down, but we both accepted that his family was never going to be in love with idea of him not marrying a Muslim lady. The most common statement he received from his family was, “you can’t marry her.”
The funny part of all of this is, in the Quran if the man is Muslim and the woman is Catholic or Jewish, the Muslim religion accepts the woman with open arms. The Muslim religion believes that the children follow the man’s religion. When people found out I was marrying a Muslim man, I received a lot of questions:
“Oh is he making you convert?”
“Do your parents accept him?”
“How are you raising your kids?”
“Will you have to wear a headscarf?”
GOSH! What the heck?! I had no idea that people had such a negative perception for the Muslim religion. No, my husband isn’t controlling, no my husband doesn’t make me do anything. No, my husband isn’t part of ISIS or a terrorist.
My husband IS a successful engineer, he IS a supportive husband and loves me unconditionally. He IS an awesome father, he IS a collage graduate. He IS a US citizen, and I am so lucky to call him MY HUSBAND.
Mikey and I will be raising our son to be a respectful human being, with great morals and values. He opens doors, says please and thank you without prompting, says sorry when he hurts someone’s feelings, and is a polite four and half year old boy. I believe regardless of whether we raise him Catholic or Muslim, they both say this is how a human should be in society. We have a halal household, and have Sunday dinners. We speak Arabic and Italian to him. We talk about God and Allah. We do not go to church or the mosque. We have chosen allow our son to choose his path in life and which religion he feels most connected with. Our son knows that God loves and protects him, and he is loved unconditionally regardless of his faith.