Letter: Love conquers religious divide

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The Independent Online
Sir: Twenty-two years ago I faced a similar dilemma to Danni and Larry ("At the crossroads where races collide", 18 June). I, a white Jewess, fell in love with an Asian Muslim. Initial family opposition was overcome, but harder to overcome was my own religious and cultural conditioning, which had never prepared me for such a challenge.

We married after much soul-searching, knowing that to do so might hurt those close to us. Our marriage, 22 years later, is still going strong. My in-laws treat me as a daughter and my own parents, while they were alive, grew to love my husband deeply. We have two healthy and balanced teenage sons. Like any married couple, we have had to make compromises, but we have always respected and supported each other's identity. My husband joins in with many of my traditions and I support him in his observance. I still see myself as a Jew, and my husband as a Muslim.

There are many rituals I practice and many I don't, but I don't feel that this would necessarily have been different if I had married another Jew. Indeed, many of my Jewish friends are totally non-observant. It hasn't always been plain sailing. Organisations that promote the dialogue between religions do exist. We have attended a fascinating series of Jewish/Muslim lectures organised by Calamus, a Muslim organisation, and we have also looked at interfaith issues within a Reform Synagogue setting.

I feel privileged to have had a window into a different culture and I'm sure my husband feels likewise. My life has been enriched by it. In this age of increased marital disharmony, surely what is most important is that two people love and respect each other and despite differences determine to make their marriage a success.