Tunisian women welcome repeal of interfaith marriage ban

By Akram Khalifa and Salma Ben Taher | Religion News Service

TUNIS, Tunisia (RNS) — A few months ago, Amina El Mahdhi was forced to go abroad to marry the man she loved.

That’s because he is a Christian. And it was illegal in Tunisia for a Muslim woman to marry a man of another faith unless he converted to Islam.

“I refused to force my future husband to convert to another faith to be able to marry me,” said El Mahdhi, 30, of Sousse, a coastal town about 90 miles south of Tunis. “His faith had never even been raised in my family so why should it be an issue for the state?”

But on Sept. 14, the ban on women marrying non-Muslims was nullified by presidential decree, and after going to Sweden to exchange their vows, they are now planning a second wedding celebration in Tunisia.