Until now a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Muslim Tunisian woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof while a Muslim Tunisian man is allowed to marry a non-Muslim woman.
Human rights groups in the North African country had campaigned for the ban's abolition, saying it undermined the fundamental human right to choose a spouse.
became the only country in the Arab world to officially allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, a decision that has sparked outrage in my native country, Egypt, and triggered fresh memories of my own ordeals as an “outsider”, who dared cross the cultural divide and marry a westerner.
In the early days of my relationship, I assumed that the only challenge would be from my mother, my only close relative.
According to one of the guards, this was a necessary ritual because “Jews occasionally want to break into the sacred site.”In England, the challenges and grilling continued.
One night was particularly distressing when a well-educated, senior medical colleague of mine (a doctor) volunteered, “to educate me” about how God would punish me if my husband stopped performing his Islamic duties.
But even he didn't dare push for equal inheritance.
The Syrian passport control officer glared at me after I crossed the once peaceful Lebanese-Syrian border seventeen years ago.
My marriage eventually fell apart for reasons unrelated to faith, but it opened my eyes to the need to respect Muslim women’s choice in marriage, even to non-Muslims.
Mainstream Muslim clerics almost universally see the inheritance rules as enshrined in the Quran, Islam's holy book, and consider the rules on marriage to be equally unquestionable in Islamic law.
The country's leading imams and theologians have issued a statement denouncing the president's proposals as a "flagrant violation of the precepts" of Islam.
They base their edicts on the basis that non-Muslims do not acknowledge or respect Islam, which is not necessarily true in our postmodern world.
In such a sexually free world, a deep love and respect is the only motivating factor behind a non-Muslim man’s desire to marry a pious Muslim woman.