Egyptian Father / English Mother - any foreseeable problems?

(16 Posts)
NETTEYJC Sun 27-Jun-10 13:27:14

I am an English Christian ( although none practicing) and my partner is an Egyptian Muslim, we have been together for several years and are now expecting our first baby in September. Would love to hear from any others in mixed cultural relationships who have had children. Have you encountered any problems in raising your children? ie, not agreeing on parenting / discipline? Although my partner isn't a strict muslim he does have some very strange views at times, we are already having problems with the name of the baby, I have agreed that she can have a muslim first name but then he also wants her to have his first name, his fathers first name and his grandfathers first name, I know this is normal in his culture but I personally find it cruel to give a girl boys names! Can anyone give me advice on any other foreseeable problems that may arise?

OP’s posts: |
mizu Mon 28-Jun-10 20:21:00

I have been married to a Muslim man for 8 years and we have 2 dds who are 4 and 5. Their names are Muslim names but they are names that could be English names too if you see what i mean. I suggested so many names and it took ages to agree. Their full names are indeed very long but on paper they only have their first name and surname and that is how they are known. My DH loved teaching them their full names and they know them off by heart but I guess will never really use them.

My DH is not strict either and we live in a pre-dominantly white middle-class area although we do visit DH's cousin and mix with other Africans who do not live far away. DH has a friend who is the same nationality and religion whose wife is European and we meet up with the children. The girls are Muslim, they do not eat pork and I think DH will become stricter with them as they grow older. We have had 'discussions' re parenting and I think it is very important to listen to each other and respect each others views.

pinkmagic1 Mon 28-Jun-10 21:27:40

I have been married to a Egyptian Muslim for nearly 13 years and we have 2 children, a boy of 6 and a girl of 4. Both our children have Muslim names, our son has a very unusual name which at first I really didn't like but is a family name that has a very special sentimental meaning to DH, hence me agreeing on it. DD has a name that I picked and have liked since before I met DH which happens to be acceptable in both our cultures. As for surnames they have their fathers first name and then their grandads first name which we have hyphenated. DH also wanted the great grandads name in there too, but after discussion we agreed it would make the name much too long. They already have the longest surnames out of all their friends but are both very proud of it! I don't think it matters about the male name thing as its a family name and not a first name. Many English women have male names as surnames, think Thomas, Roberts, Andrews etc.
DH is not a strict Muslim in many respects and we havn't had too many clashes with regards to discipline, although he is a lot stricter with the children than me and I can see him being over protective of our DD in years to come!

pinkmagic1 Mon 28-Jun-10 21:29:14

By the way Netteyjc, where in Egypt is your DH from?

puddinmama Mon 28-Jun-10 22:09:32

Hi

Yep, I have at least 7 glorious Egyptian names lol, my parents decided to call me after both my grandmothers my Irish granny and my Egyptian, I use my Irish granny's name as a first name lol After those two names, I have maybe 6 more family names including my dads first name, it is significant in Egypt which is why my dad insisted, especially when it comes to inheritance etc or so am told hmm

PussinJimmyChoos Mon 28-Jun-10 22:15:46

I have a lot of experience in this field as am married to a Syrian and was a Christian when I married him. Converted to Islam (through my own choice) about 6 years ago.

Now that I am Muslim myself, I can see the problems it would have caused had we had different religions. In my experience, even the most lax Muslims (DH isn't lax though) change when children are on the scene and a lot of cutural (although not necessarily Islamic) traditions come out - as you have already seen with the names for the baby

It really depends on the individuals - how prepared they are to make it work, whether they can sit down and talk about it, reach compromises etc

I am very happy to answer any more questions you may have on this kind of thing

NETTEYJC Tue 29-Jun-10 20:21:15

Thank you so much for all of your comments!

pinkmagic - he's from Alexandria

OP’s posts: |
UpsyDaisyOne Wed 14-Jul-10 16:04:04

I have been married to a Muslim for 11 years and we have a three year old dd and another due very shortly. We have very few problems regarding discipline because we both have very similar views on this and I knew this before we had kids. I think the issue for us will be religious teaching- I did not convert to Islam and I am very happy for our daughters to be brought up as Muslim- however my husband, although a strong believer is actually quite lazy laid back on the practical side- doesn't go to the mosque, prays infrequently, never fasts for Ramadan, drinks etc! I have tried to encourage him to be more dedicated with little success and can see I am going to end up taking over this side myself! A little ironic realy, but luckily I have good Muslim friends and his family to help with this.

I think one thing which is very important is to separate the emotion from the whole discussion of cultural/ religious norms. My husband often gets a bit upset and feels we have different views but actually if we discuss things rationally we find we are mainly in agreement and certainly able to compromise.

The name thing is an issue though- we chose a name for our daughter easily- she is named after a family friend who has an Arabic name but the shortening is a common name in the UK, so it works very well. In his culture the child has to be named after someone- this time we have a long list of names we would like to use but are not good for the UK, and have not found a suitable one yet- we have actually agreed on three separate ones, only for him to consult with the family and discover some complicated family reason why it can't be used.. He has agreed to present me with a list of ten fully vetted names and we will chose one together!

Suzihaha Sat 17-Jul-10 00:01:51

I am Arabic and DH is English. We have two boys and they both have DH name as their middle name (fine since they are boys but even if they had been girls it would have been the same). I don't think it matters, my middle name is my father's but I only use my first name and surname - only has my full name on the passport. I never found it to be an issue. It's nice to keep up one tradition when being brought up in a different culture.

Other possible issues to discuss: drinking alcohol, eating pork, circumcision (for boys), wearing headscarf (for girls).

Try to talk about these things first. DH (a convert to Islam) and I agreed on things before the birth of our DSs or at least discussed what our views were so we knew where we stood. There does have to be some give and take. Although, certain things about being Muslim are non-negotiable.

Good luck.

DungunGirl Thu 22-Jul-10 13:18:28

I am from a christian background ( though not strict ) and I married my husband who is a Malaysian Muslim 10 years ago.

I converted to Islam, as in Malaysia, there is no compromise, if you marry a muslim, you convert, end of. I was happy to convert - no problems.

I always saw my husband as a bit lax and therefore I didn't feel that there was too much different or alien between us even though we were from different cultural and religious backgrounds.

Everything went as usual until we had children.

This is where I agree with PussinJimmyCHoos.

My husband has changed over the last year since our first DS turned 5 and we had our second DS early last year.

Now he losses sleep at night worrying about how he is going to teach them about Islam in the UK without the same support there is in a muslim country like Malaysia. He also has become a lot harder on me and insists I must now know more about Islam.

We don't disagree on name choice or the other trivial things as we are pretty united in our way of thinking.

All I would say is that from my experience, when children come on the scene, suddenly your lax, horizontal muslim husband may become more of a authoritive muslim husband and this is hard to adapt to if you assumed he would always be the latter.

As long as you are prepared for this and the fact that he may at this point insist you should convert for example...then the best of luck!

I wouldn't change my husband or my kids for the world...but life does throw challenges at you when you have different beliefs and backgrounds to contend with.

Nefret Mon 02-Aug-10 11:31:13

I am married to a Turkish muslim and although we sometimes have different views on bringing up the children it has never been a real problem.

I have not converted to Islam and I have no intention of ever doing so, although i am quite happy to learn about my husband's religion and I am happy for him to teach the girls. Although saying that he is still as much of a lax, laid back muslim as ever, probably more so since he left Turkey to live in the UK.

The only rules he really has is no pork, which is fine as I don't like it anyway.

As for names, I chose my oldest DDs name, which is pretty much the same in both Enlglish and Turksih and he chose the youngest's name, her name is Kurdish.

I think in any multicultural relationship the main thing is to talk about everything and there also has to be some give and take on both sides.

mixedmamameansbusiness Thu 12-Aug-10 16:02:15

Plenty. But you will either be strong enough to get through or you will give up, same with any relationship. My dad was very strict Turkish and there were lots of issues but they worked hard and got through and it wasnt always pretty but I have only fabulous memories.

Myself... Dh is Bangladeshi (very not strict) and we had issues too, mainly extended family related - again hard times where it didnt seem worth it but stuck at it and got through.

umiaisha Thu 27-Jan-11 13:13:11

I am white british and oh is of pakistani/middle eastern descent. We have a dd (4) and another baby on the way.

He is very liberal and eats pork, drinks, smokes and is 'living in sin' with me. DD goes to a church school and contary to what everyone had to say when we first got together, I have never been asked to convert and do not intend to. However, DD has an arabic name and the new baby will have one too. If we have a boy he will be circumcised, which I am happy with as all the men in my family are anyway.

somanymiles Sat 05-Feb-11 18:11:01

I am British Catholic married to Pakistani Muslim. There will be lots of issues to talk about, not least circumcision! My husband was v liberal but has become stricter Muslim now that he is going to become a father. Names are tricky for Muslims but you should be able to find lots that are acceptable to both of you. There are a couple of threads on Mumsnet somewhere I think. Apart from circumcision, my husband wants to shave the baby's hair off at 6 weeks! But so far we have been able to talk things through. It helps that he is prepared to respect my traditions eg celebrating Christmas etc.

mizu Sun 20-Mar-11 15:18:05

Yes agree with the strictness thing when children arrive, DH has definitely got stricter with the girls. They have just started Arabic school on a Saturday morning where they learn Arabic primarily - which I think is great as I am a language teacher - but also a bit of Quran along the way.
It has been a bit difficult for me to accept that they won't be the same religion as me although i was the one who found and organised the going to the Arabic school. They go to a C of E school and like I said before we live in a very white middle class area.

DH smoked and drank up until last year when he quit both - alcohol first, he found giving up smoking hard.

I think I find it hard sometimes too as deep down i think that we shouldn't really be imposing our beliefs on our dds but that they should have the choice themselves.

beso654321 Fri 06-Sep-19 19:54:12

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