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A Muslim-Jewish love story

In a tense situation in the Middle East, Jewish-Muslim couples are struggling to live their love. Often against their families and loved ones. 

Under a pink T-shirt, Juliette displays a round belly. Her husband, Rabii, kisses her on the forehead. On the panel that they both hold, we read: "I am a Dutch Tunisia Muslim. I am a Dutch Jew. " and below an arrow pointing to the belly: "She is the result of our love. How can she possibly be an anemy of herself? "

This amazing picture was posted on Twitter and was shared everywhere in the world, alongside many other selfies of mixed couples, all together under the hashtag #JewsAndArabsRefusetoBeEnemies ("Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies").

The couple are an anonymous couple residing in Amsterdam and yet their portrait appeared in major Dutch newspapers. Contacted by telephone, Juliette, 33, and Rabii, 26, does not seem to tire of mediating their love in full escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Due to the outbreak of violence and hateful comments on social networks, we've felt almost compelled to share our story," says Juliet. A story that is particularly resonant when a Jewish-Muslim marriage was disrupted by Israeli far-right demonstrators, near Tel Aviv.

Their lightning Station has something novel. Rabii worked in the hotel where the girl was staying in Tunisia. When Juliette comes home to the Netherlands, the romance continues through long Skype sessions without falter. Except during the last month and a half that these exchanges, Juliette keeps biting blood. "I had not yet told him that I was Jewish and I was terrified that he no longer would want to speak to me," she says. She has lived few years in Tunisia and said she has been "insulted and threatened" by some people that she had "confessed" his Jewishness. When she she finally confessed to Rabii, he instantly reassured her that his love to her was stronger to any religious dispute. The lovers finally meet their families who accept both the spouse and their child.

Muslim-Jewish marriage following both traditions

Their marriage (civil), takes place a year later. It takes place in Tunisia since Rabii, who plans to move to Holland, had not yet got a visa. The ceremony strives to meet the expectations. On a beach, it brings together hundred relatives of the young man, and only six members of the family of Juliet. both Muslim and Jewish culture and traditions were however not forgotten.  

In everyday life, the couple said trying to "enjoy the best" of their two cultures. They never wanted to convert. Rabii prepare couscous with his wife and dance with her according to the Hebrew tradition. Juliette eat in front of him when he follows Ramadan. The couple defines themselves as "liberal" in their conception of religion, they decided to leave their daughter the freedom to choose what will "best suite" her.

Possible, but not quiet sure...

Behind this idyllic picture, the couple is not immune to the negative messages. If the media coverage has earned them support of emails from around the world, some explained how their child has "no future". Many understand and mad clear that even do many mixed couples try to show they live in perfect harmony, a handful of pictures of love on the internet is not enough to lift taboos. The Proof is disrupted mixed marriage in a city near Tel Aviv, where the couple were accused of "traitors" just because they felt in love with a person outside their religion beliefs. According to a study published by the Israeli daily Haaretz, 75% of respondents Jews sad they would refuse to marry someone of a different religion (65% for Arabs).

My friends asked me how I could go to bed with an Arab

In France, tensions religion conflicts are in constant increase. And if some get carried away by passion, ignoring the religious labels, somehow it seems to always end up badly. Zoe, a young Jewish woman, had to give up her relationship with a Muslim Lebanese.

"Some of my friends asked me how I was to sleep with an Arab and they were not joking, saying that he was probably a terrorist or a spy, she says.

It was a very strange relationship. In a way, it was exciting to break the "rules". But in the end, He just told me one day that our relationship was impossible and it ended. »

Forums, and social network are blooming of discussions regarding  unions between Jews and Muslims, as if they were part of a special challenge. For if there are nearly 40% of intermarriage among young Jews (according to the study of the Unified Jewish Social Fund 2006), most are with a partner with no faith or from a religion other than Islam. On the forums, it seems that it all about fear, dilemmas and fear of being rejected by the family or relatives of the other half. Isabelle Levy, lecturer - trainer specializing in religions who dedicated a book (1) to mixed couples from fifty testimonies, made this observation: "When you do not want to put our family back, we can leave pass the great love. "

A third religion : Why not combining religions...

According to Isabelle Lévy, these are relationships that are "difficult", "especially in times of conflict." "Even if it is a political, not religious conflict, it leads to frustration. Either we take sides, or we do not talk about. But then, the entourage is there to do it. "Other challenges come from the compromise between the religious practices of each. Most liberals, like Juliet and Rabii, come to create a "third religion." "Most of these couples are DIY, assemblies," said the specialist. They keep what brings them together such as not eating pork, and ignoring the celebration of the Jewish Easter or Eid the house.

According to her, the birth of a child can complicate things, especially when grandparents want to "take the child closer to them to pass on their traditions." Not to mention the choice of religion of the child, knowing that the man transmits religion in Islam, while it is the woman in Judaism.

While in case for the daughter of Juliet and Rabii. the question swept our couple... "even if our daughter wanted to be an atheist or Christian, one would agree! »

(1) Living in mixed couple. When religions get tangled, ed. L'Harmattan, 2011.

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