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The young imam, a specialist in Islamic law, stated that even though it is has been internalized by the majority of believers and imams, "the prohibition" of such a marriage was based on a false interpretation of the Koran.
For the leaders of the GFIC, this statement is "amazing".
Miriam had been raised a Christian, but had turned against God when her mother died.
The simplicity and security that Islam seemed to offer appealed to her: She decided to convert and married a Muslim man.
He is delighted that "the civil registrar will have to one day recognize" their marriage, even though that day may be a long way off.
Some of the men who fell in love with Muslim women agreed to go through what they call a "conversion of convenience". In order to have his marriage recognized in Tunisia, he complied with the local procedure: making an application and then being summoned - with a few other French men like himself - to appear before the Grand Mufti of the Al-Zaytuna Mosque in Tunis. "I treated it as a mere administrative procedure, but it really wasn't very pleasant." For him and others, the statement made on Saturday by Mohamed Bajrafil, the Imam of Ivry-sur-Seine, lifted a weight from their hearts.
But as they grow older, their commitment fades, or they become disillusioned with Christianity. Younger women often meet Muslims at college—men who convince them that there is really not much difference between Islam and Christianity.
When their wives discover the truth that Christianity is not the same as Islam, it is often too late.
Celebrating their 40th anniversary at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris, they described the announcement, made on September 14, as "extraordinary", "fantastic", "a sign of hope … The older couples among them had only one regret: that the decision wasn't made sooner.
"It's crazy that we had to wait until 2017 for this step to be taken," observes Pierre, whose marriage to an Algerian woman is not recognized in her country. " adds Leïla, a Muslim woman who has been married to Antoine for four years. Baptiste is in love with a young Tunisian who is still living with her family on the other side of the Mediterranean.
"But when I spoke to her about it, she just said, 'So, are you Tunisian now?